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You’ve got a crowd coming over, and you’ve decided to serve up delightful mugs of hot chocolate – good choice. There’s nothing like a cozy beverage to put your guests at ease. But first, you need to figure out how to make enough for everyone! We’ve got you covered with all the details you need to make a huge batch of hot chocolate for your next feast.
Here’s the basic rundown on how to make large quantities of hot chocolate:
- Fill a big pot with your milk of choice. Not all the way to the top, though.
- Heat your milk over the stove, SLOWLY! The more you rush, the more you risk burning the milk and dealing with a spillover mess.
- Stir frequently on low heat. Keep an eye on your milk until it’s just short of boiling.
- At this point, add in your chocolate, and whisk until thoroughly combined. You can use solid or pre-melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or a pre-made powdered mix.
- Mix in sugar, plus any “extras” you desire, such as vanilla extract, cinnamon, or peppermint oil.
- Now, keep the drink warm until served, for freshness and food safety. A crockpot is excellent for this.
Those are the bare bones of the process. Below, you’ll learn more about the steps, including the art of heating milk, the pros and cons of different types of chocolate, and the perfect temperature for serving up this sweet treat.
Tools and equipment for making a large batch of hot chocolate
For evenly and thoroughly heated milk and truly incorporated chocolate, you need a pot made of a metal that conducts heat well. Look for cookware that’s aluminum or copper, coated with stainless steel.
Also, a pot with a thick bottom will help prevent burning the milk.
The whisk used to stir in chocolate, sugar, and other flavorings should be long enough to scrape the bottom. A whisk, rather than a spoon, is best for achieving an ultra-smooth texture.
Should You Use a Hot Chocolate Maker?
Hot chocolate makers are popular housewarming gifts. If you’ve received one, go ahead and try it out! But we recommend against making the purchase yourself.
Think about how often you are going to use it. Is it just going to sit in storage, or clutter up your counter, for all but twice a year?
Or, would you rather have an opportunity to be mindful and have creative control over the process? Brewing hot chocolate over the stove is so much more of an experience.
If you’re a serial milk-scorcher, a hot chocolate maker might be a good idea for you. Otherwise, trust yourself, take your time, and you’ll be much more satisfied with the result.
Can You Make Hot Chocolate in a Large Coffee Maker?
You can, but we advise against it. Coffee makers aren’t optimized to heat milk in the required delicate way. Hot chocolate made with water can be good, but it won’t be as rich.
Besides, for most coffee machines, milk is a bad idea. The water compartment isn’t typically easy to clean, and any milk residue could grow bacteria very quickly.
Secrets for Perfect Milk
If you only take one thing away from this article, it should be this: don’t burn the milk! This is true whether you’re using whole or low-fat dairy, or oat or almond milk. It’s going to taste terrible, and the stuck-on residue in your pot will make you want to swear off hot chocolate for life.
Patience is essential. Use low heat, so that the bottom doesn’t burn before the top is even lukewarm.
Attention is critical, too. Stir the milk frequently. This is not the time to get distracted. If you step away from the kitchen for too long, you might be rushing back in to contain a sudden frothy mess.
Bring the milk no higher than 180°F! A thermometer is excellent, but not necessary. Just look for tiny bubbles around the edges of the liquid. Under no circumstances should you let it get to a real boil.
For one or two servings of hot chocolate, many people heat their milk using a microwave. For big batches, though, a microwave will be more of a hassle than a convenience. It’s likely to cause the milk to get too hot too quickly, and that frothy mess will be in your microwave instead of on your stove.
Technically, hot chocolate is supposed to be made with melted chocolate, not cocoa powder – that’s hot cocoa. Colloquially, though, the two get interchanged all the time. And it’s a matter of preference.
For the smoothest and creamiest taste, melt chocolate chips or bars before being mixed into the hot milk.
Putting the solid chocolate directly into the hot milk will still be good if it’s mixed well!
If you’re in more of a hurry, the cocoa powder doesn’t need to be melted, just dissolved into the hot milk. The somewhat grainy texture bothers some people, though.
Pre-made mixes can be convenient but are often unnecessarily sweet. It comes down to control and customizing the hot chocolate precisely the way that you like it.
Keeping your Hot Chocolate Hot!
Your party guests are here, and the hot chocolate’s steam is wafting smells of cocoa, cream, and vanilla all through the house. Maintaining that perfect warmth doesn’t have to come at the expense of your ability to relax. Just transfer it away from the stove, into something that will keep it warm without you having to give it a second thought.
You can use a crockpot’s “keep warm” function and serve with a ladle. If you have a large thermal coffee carafe or can borrow or buy one, that’d also be great for this purpose.
What Temperature Should Hot Chocolate Be?
According to at least one study, the optimal serving temperature for hot beverages is 136°F. Most people aren’t going to be that exact about it. Aim for 150°F, where most people won’t burn their mouths, and people who like it cooler can let it sit in their mug for a bit.
Does Hot Chocolate Go Bad If Left Out?
In short, yes!
Bacteria proliferate in almost all food and drink that stays in the “Temperature Danger Zone” between 40°F and 140°F. Perishable items shouldn’t be left out of refrigeration for longer than two hours at most.
If your hot chocolate’s crockpot got unplugged somehow, or if your carafe has cooled down significantly during a long party, don’t risk your health – get rid of it!
At this point, you know everything you need to about making a large amount of hot chocolate. Now at least some of your party-planning stress is lifted. Enjoy!