Best Hot Chocolate Ever

What's better than a cozy cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter's day? If you've been relying on instant hot cocoa for your chocolate fix, you don't know what you're missing. In this sweet episode of "Easy Does It," chef Stuart O'Keeffe demos his favorite creamy hot chocolate and shares some delicious ideas to kick it up for extra decadence.

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Simply bring your milk or half-and-half to just below a simmer while you combine bittersweet and milk chocolate, sea salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Then, temper the chocolate by pouring the hot milk over the chocolate mix, allowing the chocolate to sit for a few minutes and slowly melt. Stir, and add back into the saucepan to stay warm while you serve to eager guests.

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Stuart recommends personalizing your hot chocolate with additions like peanut butter, instant coffee, caramel, peppermint sticks, or cinnamon sticks for an extra layer of flavor. So get creative and try the recipe below for a velvety-smooth hot chocolate you'll be dreaming about long after it disappears.

Stu's Double Hot Chocolate
Serves 4

1 quart milk, or 1 quart half-and-half for extra creaminess
10 ounces 70 percent bittersweet chocolate
5 ounces milk chocolate
Pinch of sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Bring milk or half-and-half to a light simmer.
2. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl, followed by cinnamon and sea salt.
3. Add steaming milk to chocolate.
4. Allow mixture to sit for about three minutes as the chocolate melts. Then stir until all the chocolate has melted.
5. Return mixture to saucepan to serve.

Great addition ideas:
- Peppermint sticks
- 1 tablespoon caramel sauce
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso
- Whipped cream
- Strips of orange rind placed in chocolate for 1 to 2 minutes
- Peanut butter