Thick, rich, and delicious. Cioccolata Calda, also known as Italian hot chocolate, is hot chocolate like no other. Unlike the traditional American hot chocolate, Italian hot chocolate has more of a pudding texture and a very rich taste. While you can adorn it with whipped cream and marshmallows, they certainly won’t be missed as this hot chocolate takes on a life of its own. Say goodbye to packets of powdered chocolate sugar, and say hello to this homemade from scratch, yet oh-so-easy to make, winter chocolate treat!

Leave it to Italy to turn a classic winter beverage into a delicious, decadent dessert! Known for its coffees and cappuccinos, Italy mixes things up a bit during the chilly winter months with a hot chocolate so unlike what we are used too — water, chocolate powder, and sometimes even dehydrated marshmallows already found in each individual packet. Sounds appetizing, eh? Italy’s hot chocolate is so popular that machines can be purchased to make this rich concoction just right, so that the chocolate doesn’t burn and maintains its silky smooth, thick texture. Sometimes the hot chocolate is so thick, in fact, that a small spoon is necessary. While there are various recipes to making Cioccolata Calda without a machine and in your very own kitchen, we’ve put together a recipe that’s too easy not to try. Most likely you have all the ingredients already in your kitchen!

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Ingredients

1 cup 2% or whole milk

4 tablespoons sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups 100% milk chocolate chips (add more sugar if using semi-sweet chocolate)

Hint: While chocolate chips are an easy ingredient to have on hand at any moment, they can be substituted for any chocolate of your choosing. For a more decadent flavor, finely chop a dark chocolate bar, such as Ghirardelli Chocolate Intense Dark Squares, or even use rich Lindt chocolates. Another option is adding a bit of a nuttier flavor with a hazelnut chocolate.

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  1. On the stove, bring 3/4 cups of the milk, all of the cream, and all of the sugar to a slow boil. Whisk occasionally.
  2. Once bubbling, thoroughly mix the remainder of the milk (1/4 cup) and the cornstarch until all of the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the cornstarch-milk mixture into the slow boiling pot. Whisk together for approximately two minutes until fully heated through.
  3. Finally, add the chocolate chips and continue to whisk until all of the chocolate has dissolved. Continue cooking on low heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Once thickened slightly, turn off the heat and let the hot chocolate cool slightly. Keep stirring occasionally so that a film doesn’t form on top. Also, be sure not to let the mixture cool all the way or it will become too thick.
  4. Pour into individual cups and top with shaved chocolate or whipped cream, if so desired.

Be sure to share with your loved ones as it will soon become a family favorite and a must-have on cold, snowy days!

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For more cold weather drinks, check out Superfood Drinks to Warm Up To.


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Stephanie is a military wife, currently residing in North Carolina, and mama of two exceptionally curious little ones; a rugged pint-size princess and a mini Evel Knievel-in-training. When she isn't exploring the family's newest dwellings, running trails, and playgrounds, she spends her down time working from home, feverishly correcting "textspeak" in her college students' essays as an adjunct English instructor for a local community college. Her passion for writing and photography can be found on her personal blog Living Our High Life.