Hot chocolate is a delicious addition to a cold morning for any chocolate lover. Whether you like it plain straight out of a Keurig hot chocolate pod or you want to create something unique by yourself, there are tons of options. Try a few of these suggestions to get started and find the mixture that you enjoy.
If you plan to make hot chocolate in your Keurig, you can make it taste better by using a few tips and tricks. However, there are some things you also need to avoid to keep your Keurig operating efficiently and prevent clogging the machine or producing a health hazard.
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You’ll also want to try some of these suggestions to change and improve the overall flavor. Keep reading to learn how to improve the taste and quality of your hot chocolate brew while still maintaining its rich, flavorful appeal when you’re using a Keurig.
Preparing to Make Hot Chocolate in the Keurig
If you use regular package form or pre-made hot chocolate that is not a K-cup pod, you’ll want to add the mix or the powder first and then hit the brew button and allow water to heat and drip from the Keurig.
This ensures that the Keurig-made hot chocolate mixes well and makes the process much easier.
First, open the hot chocolate package, and if you want to add any other flavor enhancements in the form of powdered ingredients, add those now. Some suggestions can include the following.
- More cocoa powder
- Powdered creamer
You might choose to mix your own hot chocolate powder, which is ideal because you can adjust the flavor to suit your tastes.
Creating your own hot chocolate recipe allows you to change the level of sweetness, saltiness, and the type of cocoa powder you use.
There are also some Keurig hot cocoa pods for sale at retailers across the country for times when you want to get your hot chocolate quickly and without a mess. You use them in your coffee maker just as you would a Keurig coffee pod.
What Not to Do
A word of caution about using a Keurig to make hot chocolate: never brew hot chocolate with milk or a milk and water mixture into the Keurig. These are primarily designed to make a cup of coffee and can only handle pure water going through the system.
If you add anything but plain water to the water reservoir, it will collect and burn in the internal components. It will also spoil and create unsanitary conditions inside the Keurig and can even ruin the components.
In fact, using purified water that comes from a bottle or a tap filter is the best way to ensure you don’t get buildup or an odd flavor using your machine.
Keep in mind that it’s crucial also to clean your Keurig periodically as instructed in the owner’s manual. This will ensure you get a great-tasting hot beverage each time and help maintain sanitary conditions within the unit.
Brewing Hot Chocolate
To get the best results, use the recommended measurement of water for the Keurig and adjust the mix accordingly. If you use a hot chocolate K-cup, you’re ready to go.
During the brewing process, be sure to avoid putting your hands near the hot water and allow the Keurig to complete the release of the water stream or hot chocolate.
After the brew finishes, you can mix up the powder or ingredients and add more liquids or flavors to get the best experience.
Improving the Flavor of Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is one of the most diverse dessert beverages out there. Its chocolate base flavor goes with many other flavors ranging from the deeper flavors of real chocolate to fruit and even vanilla.
There are nearly countless possibilities to choose from when creating your own specialty hot chocolate.
Suppose you’re not sure where to begin. In that case, you can always experiment with some flavor combinations you already like, or you can consult online recipes that others have taste-tested and recommended.
Where to Begin
If you want to start adding more flavor to your hot chocolate, the best place to start is with a key ingredient: milk. If you want to improve the taste, you can cut the water in half and add warmed milk for a richer, more delicious flavor.
It’s okay to add various types of milk to enhance your hot chocolate experience. You don’t necessarily need to add whole cow’s milk. Some suggestions for those who want to avoid it include the following:
- Almond milk
- Cashew milk
- Soy Milk
You can also add lactose-free milk or low fat if you like the creamier taste of cow’s milk but not the lactose or full-fat version.
Try Adding More Chocolate
If you want to jazz up the flavor of hot chocolate and make it even more chocolaty, you have a few options. The first option is to try adding dark chocolate after brewing so it melts right away and provides a smoother texture.
Darker chocolates like Swiss chocolate and 70% cacao chocolate chips are ideal for hot chocolate. Adding higher cocoa content versions can add a thicker texture and a somewhat bitter dark chocolate sensation.
If you plan to use milk chocolate chips, use a smaller quantity because of the warm milk and granulated sugar already present in the hot chocolate mix.
If you use too much, it can make the hot chocolate too sweet, and you lose the flavor of the cocoa with the overpowering milk chocolate flavor.
Some people use one trick: adding some warm chocolate syrup. It has a somewhat lighter flavor than milk chocolate, but be careful not to add too much to the mix because it makes your drink much sweeter.
If you want to smooth out the flavor of the hot chocolate, you can add some vanilla extract. If you decide you want a strong vanilla flavor, try using pure vanilla extract.
For a milder taste, use the imitation version. It’s best to use the vanilla in small quantities because it’s a strong addition. Try using a single drop and add more if desired.
One trick to improving the flavor of hot chocolate is to add candy. You can try using peppermint sticks, a familiar favorite, or you can even add chocolate-covered cherries.
One favorite is marshmallows. There are a few sizes of marshmallows to choose from, but the smaller version seems to work best.
Some people also like to add various hard candies and fruit-flavored candy. Mint extract is also another favorite, but like vanilla, be sure to add it sparingly.
If adding alcohol as a secret ingredient sounds appealing, you can add a few different types of liquor to add some flavor.
There’s a coffee-flavored liqueur called Kahlua that works well with any hot chocolate drink. You can also try Irish Cream, Tequila Rose, and even Frangelica — a hazelnut flavored liqueur.
The typical hot chocolate connoisseur will insist that you can’t have hot chocolate without one additional ingredient: whipped cream.
This addition makes the delicious chocolate drink look more appealing and adds a creamy texture and smooth flavor that elevates the experience.
If you have kids, they will likely want to add whipped cream. There are currently several flavored whipped cream options on the market, or you could use the traditional Cool Whip.
There’s even the option to make your own whipped cream if you want to skip the added sugar content.