When Santa visits our house, he likes to drink a warm mug of hot cocoa. Not just any cocoa, mind you, but a dark chocolate variety, which happens to be his favorite kind of chocolate. He also likes the hint of Saigon cinnamon, which keeps him guessing what makes the cup of hot cocoa so special.  My Dark Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon is rich and not overly sweet, and can be made with either almond milk (Santa’s dairy free favorite) or your preferred milk beverage. While making hot chocolate from scratch is probably more work that you are used to doing for the velvety drink, I promise the taste of homemade hot chocolate is far better than the pre-packaged variety.

Dark Hot Cocoa

This year Santa will be treated to Carrot Cake Snickerdoodles which complement his Dark Hot Chocolate, served in our vintage santa mugs (what a perfect use for the mugs, don’t you think?). I just hope he doesn’t end up with too much residual chocolate in his beard, since my kids were sporting epic chocolate mustaches after trying this Dark Hot Chocolate.

Dark Hot Cocoa

Santa’s favorite cookies and beverage of choice often varies from house to house.  I’d love to hear about your traditional “welcome Santa” spread – just leave a comment below!

Dark Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon

¼ cup Special Dark, Hersey’s 100% cocoa
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups regular almond milk
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
Marshmallows or whipped cream (optional)

Place the cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan and add ½ cup milk. Place over medium heat and stir until well mixed and sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining milk and heat until it reaches a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and divide between two mugs. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired, and serve.