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7 Delicious Hot Chocolate Recipes to Try This Autumn 

by Martha Simmonds
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Move over Pumpkin Spice Latte. There’s a new autumn drink in town that ticks all the right boxes for comfort and indulgence.  

As the days grow colder, we crave cosiness. So what better way to feel soothed and relaxed than with a massive mug of hot chocolate? 

Hot chocolate drinks have been around since the Aztecs. Today’s indulgent recipes with their add-ins and toppings are pure decadence. Autumnal flavours of aromatic spice, salted caramel and zesty citrus will all elevate your mug to something blissfully comforting. 

Pro tip: It’s worth investing in a hot chocolate machine like the Velvetiser for barista-style results. There’s no easier way to achieve ultra-creamy and indulgent hot chocolate with minimal fuss. Simply add a sachet of hot chocolate mix with 220ml of dairy or plant milk, touch the button and enjoy the perfect cup every time. 

1. Pumpkin spice and everything nice 

Of course, we had to go there. After all, you know it’s autumn when you order your first PSL. Surprisingly, the spice blend was initially formulated in the 1930s for the perfect pumpkin pie. Now, it’s everywhere as soon as the leaves start to fall.  

Start by creating a bespoke blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and allspice. Or make it your own with the addition of star anise or cardamom. It’s a heady mix that captures all autumn’s woody, earthy, and warming flavours. If you’re vegan, why not try a spicy chai hot chocolate with oat milk? 

Add-ins and toppings:  

  • Ramp up the PS flavour by sprinkling more aromatic spices over a generous helping of whipped cream topping.  
  • Pop in a cinnamon stick stirrer and enjoy the heady scent of nostalgia while you sip.  

2. Whipped hot chocolate 

Remember when whipped coffee was the drink of the moment? Just three simple ingredients – coffee, water and sugar. Yet, with minimal effort, they transformed into something transcending our morning brew.   

You can use the same principle for whipped hot chocolate. And we guarantee it’ll elevate any mug. Start with equal parts of hot cocoa mix, sugar, and cream. Next, use a stand or hand mixer to whisk to perfection.  

All that’s left to do is curl up on the sofa under a blanket. Then open a good book or stream your favourite movie and dive in. 

Add-ins and toppings: 

  • Dollop a generous helping onto the hot chocolate flavour of your choice.  
  • Don’t forget a long spoon to scoop up every decadent mouthful. 
  • Add Nutella or Biscoff spread to create a whipped hot chocolate to soothe your soul. 

3. A Mayan-inspired mug 

Hot chocolate has its home in Mexico. As early as 500 BC, the Mayans were perfecting the creamiest hot cocoa foam using a molinillo. This hand-crafted wooden whisk creates a drink that’s light but with an intense chocolate flavour. So, if you prefer the cacao flavour of your drink to shine, take your inspiration from Xocolatl. 

First, seek out the best high-percentage cacao for your hot chocolate. Next, begin layering in the spices – scented vanilla, rich cinnamon and tongue-tingling chilli.  

This drink works best with a natural sweetener like coconut sugar or Agave syrup. Finally, whisk in your chosen dairy or plant milk. We love Xocolatl made with water to let the complex, fruity flavours of the cacao shine through. And it’s the perfect way to warm up after a chilly autumn hike.   

Add-ins and toppings: 

  • You won’t need any adornment for this dark and satisfying cup.  
  • We recommend investing in a good-quality tequila to sip alongside.  

4. Black Forest Gateau 

What could be more autumnal than a long walk in the woods followed by coffee and cake? Capturing that cosy vibe couldn’t be easier with hot chocolate, cherries and cream. 

Using a combination of high cacao dark and white chocolate helps to replicate the mouthfeel of chocolate cake and luscious dairy. Dark chocolate delivers almost savoury, bitter berry notes. By contrast, white chocolate oozes creaminess due to its high cocoa butter content.  

The result? A hot chocolate that satisfies the senses and makes a great after-dinner treat. 

Add-ins and toppings: 

  • Once your hot chocolate reaches silky perfection, it’s time to garnish. A Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is traditionally soaked in the German cherry spirit, Kirsch. But a good cherry brandy or non-alcoholic syrup will add the same decadence. 
  • It goes without saying that no Black Forest hot chocolate recipe is complete without a cloud of whipped cream. Use a can for convenience, or whip up your own with plenty of vanilla. A final garnish of dark chocolate curls and a sprinkle of Morello cherries complete the complex flavour profile. 

5. Maple & pecan 

Imagine unwinding after a long day with decadent maple and pecan hot chocolate. Maple syrup is the essence of the season. New England is famed for its fall foliage, and nothing is more spectacular than acre upon acre of flamingo pink sugar maples. 

Creating just one gallon of golden maple syrup takes eight gallons of sap. It’s a fantastic sweetener for hot chocolate, with notes of butterscotch and toffee, vanilla, burnt wood and toast. Pair with a high-cacao milk chocolate mix for an autumn classic. 

Add-ins and toppings: 

  • This irresistible hot chocolate deserves a truly American-style garnish. So forget the mini marshmallows and open a jar of Marshmallow Fluff instead.  
  • Scatter with pecans and chunks of maple sugar candy for the flavours of Fall in a mug. 

6. Salted caramel 

Salted caramel is a much-loved flavour of the season. The irresistible combination of sweetness and salt delivers a satisfying flavour experience. And it couldn’t be easier to make at home with just four ingredients. To veganise, replace the dairy with coconut milk and use coconut sugar. 

Add-ins and toppings: 

  • Drizzle salted caramel into your hot chocolate as a sweetener.  
  • We love to top salted caramel hot chocolate with a scoop of ice cream and a generous helping of that delectable sauce.  
  • For sheer decadence, add a salted caramel truffle and wait for the flavour bomb explosion as it melts. 

7. Classic chocolate orange 

Chocolate and citrus are a match made in heaven. And what could be better to brighten up a miserable autumn day than a tingle of orange on your tongue?  

Citrus pairs beautifully with dark, milk and even white chocolate. However, we recommend seeking out sour and tangy Seville oranges if you prefer a dreamy white hot chocolate. As a general rule, however, the more bitter the chocolate, the brighter the citrus flavour.  

Add-ins and toppings: 

  • An optional shot of orange liqueur and a twist of orange peel is all you need for a heavenly hot chocolate, 

Autumn hot chocolate ideas 

Want to add an extra dimension to your hot chocolate? Try these serving suggestions for size. 

Add a swirl of nut butter 

Nuts and chocolate are the perfect partners. Try a spoonful of creamy peanut or almond butter. Or swirl in a dollop of tahini. The Middle Eastern sesame paste is sweet, slightly bitter and deliciously nutty. And better yet, it’s entirely safe for nut allergy sufferers. 

Try a crumbled gingerbread topping 

Sometimes, the simple things are the best. Ginger is such a staple of autumnal baking, and it has a natural affinity with chocolate. We love a crumble of gingerbread and a sprinkle of freshly grated ginger over the top of a high-cacao dark hot chocolate. The fiery-sweet kick of ginger elevates even the most basic hot cocoa mix. 

Add an espresso shot 

The Italians call it Bicerin. And you’ll get a sophisticated kick by layering your hot chocolate with a shot of espresso – whipped cream, toasted hazelnuts and chocolate shavings purely optional! 

Ease into autumn with the perfect hot chocolate 

Hot chocolate is the perfect drink to ease you into autumn’s cosy and comfortable vibe. And there’s no better way to indulge than to try out fantastic new flavour combinations that bring the season straight to your cup. We hope you’re inspired to invest in a hot chocolate machine and start experimenting! 

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