Elevate Your Hot Chocolate By Experimenting With Flavored Milks

Whether you're making hot chocolate from scratch or from a pre-made packet, using milk instead of water is a key component if you want a rich cup. Typical choices range from whole, skim, and 2% cow's milk, to nondairy options like oat, soy, and almond. But why stop there? While part of the fun of making hot chocolate is adding in delicious ingredients like Nutella or yummy toppings like marshmallows, you can amp up the taste of your drink just by swapping out a plain milk for a flavored one.

To upgrade your hot chocolate as easily as possible, use flavored milk for a unique taste without the need for any extra ingredients. If you want to experiment more, you can mix and match the milk with the mix-ins or toppings. For example, think strawberry milk with mini chocolate chips and fudge sauce for a chocolate-covered strawberry-inspired drink. Luckily, flavored milks typically come in pretty small containers (it's pretty unusual to find an entire gallon of banana milk), so you have plenty of wiggle room to try out a few different types to find your favorite.

Mix and match a flavored milk with toppings

Using flavored milk is the ultimate way to get creative with your hot chocolate, but you can start simple if you're not ready to venture into banana milk territory quite yet. Kick off your experimentation with chocolate milk — and if you want to deepen the taste even more, use dark chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, or even shaved truffles on top. You can also try something as simple as vanilla milk, which will add a tad more sweetness than the traditional drink, to create white chocolate milk. This will pair beautifully with a milk chocolate drink mix and dark chocolate sauce to create a triple chocolate extravaganza.

For anyone feeling a little risky, there's a wide world of creatively flavored milks out there to delve into. Peanut butter, salted caramel, and maple varieties will turn your basic mug of hot chocolate into a rich dessert, but to venture even more outside the box, try eggnog, orange cream, coffee, pistachio, or the aforementioned strawberry and banana flavors. From there, the topping possibilities are endless. Nutella and cinnamon would be delicious with banana milk; dark chocolate shavings, an orange peel garnish, and possibly a little Grand Marnier would pair marvelously with orange cream milk; and a few mini Reese's cups would be a tasty finish for a peanut butter milk-filled mug. What delicious concoction will you come up with?