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10 Things You Aren’t Adding to Your Hot Chocolate (But Should!)

Baby, it sure is cold outside. What better way to chase away chills on a cold winter day than to cozy up with a steamy cup of hot chocolate. The sweet liquid indulgence gets even better when you stir these flavor-boosting ingredients into your mug.

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Coffee grinder grinding freshly roasted make beans into a powderPhoto: Shutterstock / papi8888


Coffee lovers, rejoice! Get your caffeine boost and chocolate fix all in one with this perk-you-up delight, which includes a shot of espresso.

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Pumpkin confiture, jam, sauce with spices on stone tablePhoto: Shutterstock / Anna_Pustynnikova


You love chocolate. You love pumpkin. Stretch fall into winter with this tasty twist on the popular pumpkin-flavored beverages sold at coffee shops. Love coffee house drinks? Make your own at home!

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Homemade Peppermint MochaPhoto: Shutterstock / Rimma Bondarenko


No matter how frigid the temperature, the refreshing, delicious icy taste of peppermint (or just plain mint) is a hallmark of the season. Stir in crushed candy canes or peppermint candies, mint chocolate chips, a drop of mint or peppermint extract, or fresh mint leaves.


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Scoops of vanilla ice creamPhoto: Shutterstock / MaraZe

Ice Cream

Who says hot chocolate has to be hot? Sweet and oh-so-creamy, frozen hot cocoa will leave you feeling totally chilled out.

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Composition with bottles of assorted alcoholic beverages.Photo: Shutterstock / monticello


Hot chocolate is a guilty pleasure on its own, but spiked hot chocolate takes the treat to a whole new level. Just add a splash of Kahlua, bourbon, whiskey, amaretto or Bailey’s Irish Cream. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

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Caramel sauce in round dish isolated on white backgroundPhoto: Shutterstock / bigacis

Butterscotch or Dulce de Leche

Got a serious sweet tooth? Every sip of this hot wonder is like a creamy bite of butterscotch. Or if you’re a caramel connoisseur, try one of these cute and tasty dulce de leche pods. They can be gifts, too!

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Ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticksPhoto: Shutterstock / Bukhta Ihor


Sugar, spice and everything nice. That’s what you’ll get when you add a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger or allspice. Gingerbread hot cocoa will go down in the holiday recipe hall of fame, while crackling hot cocoa definitely lives up to its name!

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maple syrup in glass bottle on wooden tablePhoto: Shutterstock / showcake


Warm and cozy just met its match. Try maple hot chocolate alongside your favorite Saturday morning pancakes and syrup.

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Baking Chocolate Isolated On White BackgroundPhoto: Shutterstock / endeavor


Chocolate in hot chocolate? Yes, please! Chocolate candy bars, coarsely chopped chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate chips, chocolate shavings––these cups of love are so good they’re even better than a boyfriend!

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Bottle with aromatic extract and dry vanilla beans on tablePhoto: Shutterstock / Africa Studio

Vanilla or Almond Extract

Your favorite extracts for baked goods also add sweet magic to homey drinks. Try vanilla almond hot chocolate for a taste that’s out-of-this-world good!

Of course, sometimes it’s better to not mess with a classic hot cocoa —unless you want to add a few homemade marshmallows.

Amy Glander
Amy is a book editor at Taste of Home where she gets to pour her passions for food and storytelling into trade and series cookbooks. When she’s not writing or editing, you’ll find her antiquing, cooking and baking from her favorite vintage cookbooks and exploring Milwaukee’s urban beauty with her digital SLR in hand.

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