There is something so special about the first time I reach past the tea bags in favour of something a little sweeter for my evening hot beverage. The effort I go to with a hot chocolate is an autumn tradition, I like mine with hot milk (almond milk) so it takes more preparation than just boiling the kettle, I kind of like the extra time it takes, making it feel special. As winter has kicked in and lasts until about April I thought I would branch out and try some new flavours that will keep me going until the spring.
I am a big fan of salty/sweet flavours, so when I spotted this Marks and Spencer's Salted Caramel sauce it was straight in my shopping basket. Aside from dolloping it all over my ice cream in the summer I thought it would make a great addition to a basic hot chocolate - I normally use Cadbury's drinking chocolate. It tasted amazing, especially with my favourite giant pretzels.
My other go-to choice is Options sachets, they have some great flavour choices, my favourite is the Caribbean coconut, but for a change I tried the chocolate mint (H's fav) and jazzed it up with a peppermint candy cane, whipped cream and some sugar snowflakes (I had to eat this with a spoon). So perfect for Christmas!
The best things about Options are that they are low in calories (excluding the whipped cream of course), They come in handy sachets so if you aren't keen on a flavour you haven't wasted a whole jar and they are often on 5 for £1 in supermarkets, so you can experiment to your hearts content. I am looking forward to trying jazzy ginger next.
Another new addition to the cupboard was another M&S find Hasslacher's Hot Drinking Chocolate which is a solid cocoa block which you melt in a pan before adding milk and water. It was pricey but you do get lots of cups per pack, way more than a jar of powdered chocolate.
I really liked the flavour of this one, it is definitely for those who like their chocolate on the rich, slightly bitter side, I sweetened mine with some brown sugar to my taste and a sprinkle of coco powder.
One of the Options flavours I knew I could invest in a jar of was White Chocolate, my Steve loves white chocolate so I knew this one would be a hit... (this is the only cup of it I had and it's now run out and I have been ordered to buy more). I enjoyed (my one cup) with mini marshmallows and a side order of Mr Kipling's Frosted Fancies, a match made in heaven!
This last one is technically not hot 'chocolate' per se, it is hot 'peanut butter' trust me if you like peanut butter you will adore this drink. It is a warm, creamy delight.
Peanut Hottie is my new favourite drink, I want to buy shares in this stuff, breathe in the smell every hour of the day, I would bathe in it if I could. I enjoyed mine with a Reese's Peanut butter cup, which you'd think would be over kill... not in my book!
What is your favourite winter warming drink of choice? Let me know in the comments below.