Welcome my fellow chocolate lovers to the ultimate decadent treat… red velvet hot chocolate!
This recipe is for anyone who loves a little extra magic in their mug, who enjoys the finer things in life, or who simply wants to shake up their hot chocolate game.
It’s a silky smooth blend of rich dark and milk chocolate, with a dash of creamy vanilla, a hint of red velvet coloring, and a topping of luscious white chocolate whipped cream. Oh, and a sprinkle of red velvet cake crumbs.
Yes, you read that right.
We use dark, milk, and white chocolate in this recipe. I told you it was a chocolate lover’s dream.
Psst… this is a great Valentine’s Day treat.
Here are the stars of our show, each playing their part to create the ultimate red velvet hot chocolate.
- Whole milk: This is the base of our hot chocolate, providing a smooth and creamy texture. You can substitute with a lower fat milk, or a plant based milk.
- Dark chocolate: Go for at least 70% cacao, chopped. This gives a deep, rich chocolatey flavor.
- Milk chocolate: This adds a slightly sweeter, creamier note to the hot chocolate. Just milk chocolate was too sweet for my liking.
- Vanilla extract (optional): A touch of vanilla rounds out the flavors and provides form warmth. You can play around with different extracts like rum extract or coconut extract for a tropical twist. Or go with peppermint extract for a cooler flavor profile.
- Red food coloring (optional): This is what gives our hot chocolate its unique red velvet look. It’s optional, but recommended for the full effect. Gel food coloring is best because you don’t need to add as much.
- Red velvet cake crumbs (optional): These add a fun, tasty topping that really takes this hot chocolate to the next level. And it’s a good excuse to bake some cupcakes!
- Thickened cream: Chilled. This is the base for our white chocolate whipped cream – you can’t have hot chocolate without whipped cream!
- White chocolate: Melted and cooled. This turns our whipped cream into a sweet, creamy cloud of white chocolate heaven. Yum.
Here are your step-by-step instructions.
Prepare your whipped cream
Whip cold cream using a handheld mixer until soft peaks start to form.
Pour your melted and cooled white chocolate into the whipped cream.
Whisk gently until it’s all combined and firm. Don’t over-whip, or your mixture might end up grainy.
Set the whipped cream aside.
Make the hot chocolate
In a small saucepan, heat your milk over medium heat.
Be patient, you want it hot and steaming but not boiling. Reduce the heat down to low.
And whisk in your dark and milk chocolate until they’re fully melted.
Keep stirring, and let the mixture cook for a couple more minutes until it’s nice and warm.
Remove your saucepan from the heat and mix in your vanilla extract and red food coloring.
Pour and top your hot chocolate
Pour your red velvet hot chocolate into serving glasses (glasses are better so you can see the red color!).
Then use a spoon to add a good dollop of your white chocolate whipped cream on top.
If you’re feeling fancy, you can pipe it on instead.
For the final touch, sprinkle over your red velvet cake crumbs. If you don’t have any cake crumbs, you can use whatever biscuits you have lying around instead.
Checking the hot chocolate is thick enough
I like it thick. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make sure your hot choc’ isn’t a watery excuse for a drink. I typically use a cornstarch slurry to gain some extra thickness, but there are many other ways to thicken hot chocolate too (I tested 7 of them!).
Dairy-free and plant-based substitutions
Let’s explore some ways you can tweak this recipe to cater to different tastes or dietary restrictions.
If you’re lactose intolerant or prefer dairy-free options, you can replace the whole milk with your favorite non-dairy milk such as almond, oat, or soy milk.
I think oat milk is best because it’s the creamiest.
For the whipped cream, there are dairy-free alternatives available. Or you can make your own using coconut cream.
You can also use vegan chocolate to make the drink totally plant-based (also check the food coloring, as some red food coloring is made from crushed bugs).
Not got time to get red velvet crumbs?
Or don’t fancy whipped cream?
There are SO many delicious ways to top hot chocolate. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Cream cheese whipped cream: go full-on red velvet and introduce cream cheese into the mix. This is super rich, but we’re all allowed to pig out sometimes, right?
- Marshmallows: this is a classic hot chocolate topping that adds sweetness and a fun texture. I like using mini marshmallows because they melt better.
- Caramel sauce or chocolate sauce: drizzle some caramel or chocolate sauce over the top of your hot chocolate to turn it into the ultimate Starbucks treat!
- Sea salt: a small sprinkle of sea salt can balance out the sweetness and enhance the chocolate flavor. Psst… this goes great with a caramel drizzle too.
- Cinnamon or nutmeg: A pinch of these spices can add warmth and complexity to your hot chocolate.
- Crushed peppermint candies: this will add a refreshing, festive twist. It’s perfect for the holiday season. And luckily, I have a great article on how to crush candy canes, and how to stop candy from sticking together!
- Toasted coconut flakes: these can add a delicious crunch and a hint of tropical flavor. You can replace coconut flakes with desiccated coconut too.
- Chopped nuts: add a few chopped nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts for a crunchy topping and a few extra nutrients. You can salt the nuts, too, if you want.
- Edible flowers: for a beautiful and elegant touch, consider a few edible flowers on top. This will really wow your guests.
Whether you’re enjoying your hot chocolate as a cozy afternoon pick-me-up, a dessert after dinner, or as a special breakfast treat, here are some delicious dishes to serve alongside it.
- Cinnamon rolls: warm (it’s super easy to reheat cinnamon rolls), sweet, and a little bit spicy, cinnamon rolls will add a comforting touch to your hot chocolate experience.
- French toast: if you’re having the hot chocolate for a special breakfast or brunch, pair it with some fluffy French toast. The sweetness of the French toast and the richness of the hot chocolate complement each other perfectly.
- Butter croissants: or go with a classic croissant. You can dip these in the hot chocolate too. And if you want them warm, I tested out 9 different ways to reheat croissants.
- Scones: whether they’re plain, fruit-filled, or cheese scones, they can provide a delightful contrast to the richness of the hot chocolate. Want more ideas on what to serve with scones? I got you covered.
- Biscotti: these crunchy Italian cookies are traditionally dipped in drinks, making them a great pairing with hot chocolate. Psst… you can also use biscotti instead of ladyfingers to make a delicious tiramisu.
- Churros: if you’re feeling adventurous, warm churros with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar could be a fun and delicious pairing. Got leftovers? Storing churros is easier than you think!
Pour any leftover hot chocolate into a container with a tight-fitting lid and store it in the fridge. It should stay fresh for about 2-3 days.
To reheat, simply pour it into a saucepan and warm it up over low heat, stirring occasionally.
I’d avoid the microwave because it can heat unevenly and scorch the milk. But if you want to use it, heat the drink in 20-second intervals, stirring during each break.
Store any leftover white chocolate whipped cream in a covered container in the fridge.
It will last for about 2-3 days. Before using it you might need to give it a quick whisk to fluff it back up.
Red Velvet Hot Chocolate
- For the hot chocolate:
- 1 cup whole milk or milk of choice
- 45 g good quality dark chocolate at least 70%, chopped
- 15 g good quality milk chocolate chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring optional
- red velvet cake crumbs optional
- For the whipped cream:
- 1/2 cup thickened cream chilled
- 30 g good quality white chocolate melted and cooled
- For the whipped cream: With a handheld mixer (or mixer of choice), whisk cream until soft peaks begin to form. Pour the melted and cooled white chocolate into the whipped cream and whisk gently until firm (do not over-whisk or the mixture will turn grainy). Set aside.
- For the hot chocolate: In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until hot and steaming, but not boiling. Reduce heat to low and whisk in dark and milk chocolates until melted. Stirring constantly with the whisk, cook for another couple of minutes so it’s nice and warm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and red food coloring, if using.
- Pour hot chocolate into 1 or 2 serving glasses (that’s 1x 1-cup serving, or 2x 1/2 cup servings). Use a spoon to plop in a good dollop of white chocolate whipped cream, or pipe it on, if you prefer. Sprinkle over the red velvet cake crumbs, if using.
- Enjoy immediately!