“Brr, it’s cold tonight! I could really go for a cup of ho cho!”

So says Lorelai in Season 4, Episode 15 of Gilmore Girls, thus forever affecting my ability to call my favorite hot drink anything but “ho cho” for the rest of my life (although, I’m not quite so far gone as to call frozen yogurt “fro yo”…I have my dignity limits).

I like to consider myself a hot chocolate aficionado. Not just any old brand or brew will do.

So, today, I thought I might share my method for producing the perfect cup.

Are you ready for this?

I hope you’ve got your pen and notepad ready because it gets a bit tricky somewhere in the middle

STEP 1::

Find a cute container to hold your impending creamy deliciousness. If it has your initial on it (which you just happen to have because your awesome father-in-law bought a mug for every letter of your name), all the better.

Fill it with 6-8 oz. of hot water.


STEP 2::

Grab a packet of hot chocolate mix and open carefully to avoid the danger of paper cuts.

(It’s not absolutely necessary to tear exactly along the dotted line but highly recommended).


STEP 3::

Pour entire contents into waiting hot water, making sure to give the packet a shake or two to dislodge any clinging particles of chocolatey powder.


STEP 4::

Stir clockwise in a vigorous yet controlled fashion until every last bit of chocolate-esque powder has been absorbed into the water.


STEP 5::

ENJOY! (just don’t go burning your tongue)


I’m thinking about writing a book all about the process called The Perfect Ho Cho in 5 Simple Steps, and this might be my cover photo.

What do you think?

I really hope you leave me a lots of positive feedback on this one, folks, because this recipe is my baby, and it would really crush me to receive negative comments.

See you tomorrow!












{I can just see a few of you tapping your toes with this “I am not amused” look on your faces, so I suppose I should start behaving now}


What do I really do when I make my ho cho?

Well, quite honestly, I really do Steps 1-4 from that super-complicated process above.

But then I also do a little t-w-e-a-k-i-n-g (movie reference?), and it’s that tweaking that makes all the difference.

First, I start with these 4 simple ingredients:


The only item that I get picky about in terms of brands is the cocoa mix.

Believe me, I’ve done extensive market research on all the others (i.e. tried them all at least once), and Nestle/Carnation has the most authentic chocolate-y taste without that chalky after-flavor that so many other brands (*cough* Swiss Miss) have, so if you like your cocoa rich and sweet, pay the extra 10 cents and go with the good stuff (and, no, they are not sponsoring this post…I wish).

{I’m usually a milk chocolate with mini-marshmallows girl all the way, but I bought that box when the store was out of the mini-marshmallow variety, and I was desperate for a ho cho fix).

So, after Steps 1-4, here’s what I do:

  • Add 2-4 tablespoons of milk (whole milk tastes best)
  • Stir in 1-2 Tbsp. of chocolate syrup
  • Reheat for another 30 seconds (I like my ho cho sear-my-tongue hot)
  • Top with a generous shot of whipped cream
  • Drizzle with chocolate syrup


I realize that these tweaks probably sound pretty darn elementary, and they really are, but I’ve played with it a fair bit and found that this particular combination/ratio of ingredients produces the creamiest, chocolate-iest, most deliciously satisfying cup of ho cho I’ve ever enjoyed (and that includes gourmet cups from fancy-pants coffee shops).


I suppose I should add one last step, which would be to zealously guard your mug if you have children, or you might find yourself the victim of ho cho theft.


{I caught him before he could strike, but he was definitely eyeing it with great love and covetousness}

So, now, for reals…what about you guys?

Do you have a favorite way you prepare your hot chocolate (or another hot drink that you’re equally obsessed with)?

I’m always up for trying new brews (of the non-coffee variety…don’t hate!).


  1. Pingback: coffee chat |
  2. Whenever I make “ho cho” I use unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, whole milk, and a splash of vanilla. Heated on the stove slowly so all the flavors mix. With whip cream on top!

  3. I literally laughed at loud at the step by step recipe! I favor Carnation brand hot chocolate (do you have Carnation in Texas?) but I agree with all your tweaking steps! Sometimes I will drizzle with caramel sauce if I happen to have it around too!

  4. For me, it’s all about the marshmallows! I make my own marshmallows – they are super easy to make and 1,000 times better than anything that comes in a bag or already in your mix. When you put them over steaming hot chocolate they melt and form a sweet layer on top (they don’t just melt and disappear into the ho cho) so you get some with every sip. Amazing!

  5. Your first instructions cracked me up Abbie! My favorite “tweak” is to add flavored creamers to my hot chocolate….so yummy! I don’t drink coffee, but I will keep a tasty creamer on hand for my “ho cho” (and adding it to the egg mixture when making french toast)….mmm! =)

  6. My husband about choked the first time I made hot chocolate from a package with WATER. Oh the humanity! I no longer buy the packets, I buy it in the round container, and I make it with milk and I make enough for the whole gang at once. Yes, I’m fully aware that the mix HAS milk in it but my husband just can’t cope with hot chocolate made with anything but hot milk. It’s extra rich and we’re totally used to it that way.

    Heat the milk in the microwave in a 4 cup glass measuring bowl until it just about boiling. Add many many MANY scoops of chocolate until the color is just right. Pour into mugs, add 2 big marshmallows for the kids. Add just a splash of Bailey’s Irish Cream to the adults and top with Land ‘O’ Lakes whipped cream. That way the kids *can’t* have any of yours. 🙂

    Holy cow, I’ve started to drool. Now I have to get back to work and all I want to do is go home and make a heavenly cup of yum.

  7. I like to put the tiniest pinch of peppermint extract in mine, or, if I’m feeling really feisty, a little cayenne. (you’ll be pleasantly surprised! if you like heat of course…)

  8. I love me some ho cho! But, I must confess that I have not been curling up on the couch recently with ho cho. Lately, my drink of choice has been a London Fog. It’s Earl Grey Tea with a shot of vanilla syrup and a splash of milk. It’s so smooth and tasty!

  9. I’m definitely going to try your tweaks! 🙂 I’ve made the “real” hot chocolate with heavy cream, milk, shaved chocolate blah blah blah but it takes too long and the calories are horrid. Your way sounds perfect!

  10. My absolute favorite hot chocolate is made with Nestle’s Abuelita Chocolate. It’s got hints of cinnamon and it’s stinkin’ delicious! I always use the tablets, although they do have an instant variety now (I’ve never tried it).

    Typically, I use 2 cups of milk per tablet. {I use skim, a: because I don’t really care for milk and b: anything more than that is too rich for me.} In a saucepan, bring the milk to a slow boil, drop in a tablet and stir continuously as it melts. That’s it!

  11. First off, isn’t that mug the best!? I have the same one!
    Second, I had a soy hot chocolate at a restaurant recently and it was sooo disappointing! It had been a really long time since I had one {I gave up milk a few years back} but I remember it being sooo much better before. I think I’m sticking to tea now. =)

  12. This isn’t a recipe, but since you’re such a hot chocolate connoisseur I thought you might like to know what Russian hot chocolate tastes like! When I was in Moscow 2 years ago and it was -12 fahrenheit, we stopped at an adorable cafe. Literally, I’m pretty sure that their “hot chocolate” was a melted hersheys bar that they put into a mug. SO thick!! I mean, it was delicious, but so rich I could have had a clogged artery if I finished it. And those types of things are always the most delicious 🙂

  13. Do you do the shake the milk trick? Step 1. Open the fridge. Step 2. Grab your favourite milk. Step 3. Make sure the lid of milk carton is on tight. Step 4. Shake milk in carton up and down. Step 5. Pour milk on top of your favourite drink. Froffy milk. Little kids love it and think you are so clever!!!

  14. Ok, here’s my little secret that will change your life ~ adding FROZEN Cool Whip to your hot chocolate! Seriously awesome! The frozen Cool Whip slowly melts to perfection and may I add, photographs beautifully. Now my other dirty little secret is adding a splash of Peppermint Schnapps to your hot chocolate, along with that dollop of frozen Cool Whip and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. OMG, pure decadence I tell ya!

  15. Oh man, do I looove some hot chocolate! And I’m totally not hating on the packet mixes (and have been known to tweak to the point of tweaking nerves haha) BUT after having tried many many many many (times 5 billion of course) packets in college, I have concluded that my all time favorite recipe uses cocoa, sugar, and milk. It can be tweaked depending on mood with cinnamon or vanilla, but the basics are as follows;
    1Tbs cocoa powder
    2Tbs sugar
    – put both in cup and mix together
    add the smallest amount of milk and make a paste
    then s l o w l y add the rest of the milk, stirring the whole time, until it’s mixed up.
    Heat to the delectably scalding hot temp of your choice

    top with favorite toppings (whipped cream, cool whip, marshmallows, etc)

    Sometimes I even make it with cream in the beginning to get the paste. oh the scandal.

  16. My favourite hot chocolate uses the Fair Trade Hot Chocolate Mix which is basically just cocoa and sugar (avoiding all those additives). We put in the hot chocolate (heaped teaspoon), add about an inch of milk and a teaspoon of sweetened condensed milk (Highlander nicest) then mix vigorously with a spoon until it’s frothy. Add boiled water and enjoy. If feeling really decadent use fresh cream instead of the milk and add a touch of cinnamon with marshies (white ones)

  17. love the cover photo for the book, really do ;)! it’s funny, ho cho in Switzerland is made with milk and chocolate powder, not water… is some mikl ingredient already included in the chocolate powder?
    enjoy your ho chos and cheerio from Switzerland

  18. I add a bit of flavored coffee creamer to my hot chocolate. Coffee Mate’s Coconut Creme is the best. It will change your life 🙂

I love hearing from you guys!