In the cafes of Barcelona, the hot chocolate is legendary. It’s served thick, dark, and rich, flavored with espresso and a hint of orange. The chocolate there is so thick, you almost need a spoon. This is my version of the hot chocolate I came to love while traveling in Spain. The taste is the same, but it is not quite as thick. For an extra kick, add a liqueur. This one is delicious with a shot of vanilla vodka and a little Grand Marnier, but would be very good with peppermint liqueur, Godiva white chocolate or a shot of lovely, dark rum. YUM!

Martie's Holiday Hot Chocolate .jpg

Why not set up a HOT CHOCOLATE BAR for your next party. Mix up a huge pot of hot chocolate. Display whipped cream, toppings, liqueurs, shavings, coffee flavorings, etc so guests can mix up their own concoction.


Yield: 4 servings


2/3 cup  heavy cream

2 ounces  good-quality dark or bittersweet (60 to 70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/3  cups  whole milk

1 cup Espresso or strong coffee left over from the morning (okay to cheat and use Nescafe)

1/4  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4  cup  sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1  2-inch piece orange rind

Pinch salt

1/4  cup  fresh whipped cream* (optional)

Cocoa powder or chocolate shavings (optional)


Combine heavy cream, chopped chocolate, cocoa, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir well to incorporate, then place over low heat, whisking constantly until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Gradually add the salt, vanilla, orange rind, milk and coffee. Cook over medium-low heat, continuing to stir with a whisk. Heat 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil). Discard the rind.

Adult version: Add one shot vanilla vodka and 1 teaspoon orange liqueur to each mug.

Pour 1 cup mixture into each of 4 mugs. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon whipped cream over each serving. Dust with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings, if desired.


Brrr... there's a chill in the air and the holidays are right around the corner. No matter if you're just cuddled up in a blanket watching Christmas movies or coming in from holiday shopping, make up a mug of this fast and super rich hot chocolate! Check out the variation at the end... a shot of something extra to warm you up fast!

delicious peppermint hot chocolate recipe by Martie Duncan


Makes 2 large mugs


2 1/2 cups milk (use whole or skim, whatever you like)

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

3 tablespoons sugar

6 squares (3 ounces) 60 % Cacao dark chocolate, chopped 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

dash salt

4 soft peppermint candies or 2 soft peppermint sticks, crushed fine + 2 peppermint sticks for garnish

1/2 cup heavy cream or whipping cream


Put the candies in a plastic bag and crush them using a rolling pin or mallet. Set aside. Put the milk in a saucepan. Slowly bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Put the cocoa in one of the mugs. Add a bit of the hot milk and stir until it becomes smooth, adding more milk to thin it out. Add it back to the saucepan. Next, add the chopped chocolate and stir until it is completely melted. Let the chocolate heat through, stirring constantly. Add the crushed candies and stir until they are melted. Pour into mugs and drizzle a little heavy cream on the top. Garnish with a peppermint stick, whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa, marshmallows, or even more crushed candies... whatever you like and your diet can afford!

Variation: Add a shot of brandy, vanilla vodka, chocolate or white chocolate liqueur, coffee liqueur, or peppermint schnapps to your mug for some extra warmth!

FOR A CROWD: I make the hot chocolate in a pot and then transfer to a slow cooker for serving. Makes temperature control and serving so easy!

Print Friendly and PDF


You can mix up the base for Hot Buttered Rum and keep it in the freezer until you are ready to make a batch. Perfect for holiday get-togethers.

You can mix up the base for Hot Buttered Rum and keep it in the freezer until you are ready to make a batch. Perfect for holiday get-togethers.

I was introduced to Hot Buttered Rum after skiing in Beaver Creek, Colorado a few years ago and have been in love with it ever since. This cocktail recipe is perfect for the holidays because you can make a large batch in advance and keep the mixture in the freezer until you're ready to use it. Then all you have to do is scoop the mixture into a mug, add the rum, and fill with hot water.

This recipe is really rich-- almost like a dessert and it is soooo yummy.



1 pound Confectioners' sugar

1 pound brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

Pinch of salt

1 pound unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 quart good quality vanilla ice cream, melted


Sift the dry ingredients together into the bowl of your mixer. Add the butter and vanilla. On medium high speed, cream the butter and sugars together. Lower the speed and drizzle in the melted ice cream, a little at a time, scraping down the sides as you go.

Freeze until firm.

To make a mug: Place 1 1/2 ounces good quality dark rum (I like Appleton Estates) in a mug along with two generous scoops of the mix-- more if you have a big mug. Fill the mug with boiling water. Top with a little fresh grated nutmeg-- just a little- and serve with a cinnamon stick for garnish.

Print Friendly and PDF