This pumpkin hot chocolate is warm, comforting and is full of hazelnut flavor. The perfect hot beverage to cozy up with this fall as the weather gets colder.
About this time seven years ago (wow, it’s crazy how fast time goes as you get older), I received an unsolicited home decor magazine in my mailbox.
Married just over a year, I had packed up New York for Florida to be with Ulysses the day we returned from our honeymoon.
We had a beautiful house, a pool in the backyard and life was good.
Or, so I thought until that magazine arrived. Normally, I’d throw that kind of junk right into the garbage and not give it a second thought. For some unknown reason though, I opened that one.
I can vividly remember looking through it on the couch as the sun poured in through the living room window.
The door to the screened in patio was open while the late October 70 degree breeze flowed through the house, and I just lost it.
I saw picturesque fall foliage setups with pumpkins, gourds and hay bales, snowy covered front porches with monogrammed welcome mats, people bundled up in cozy winter jackets, scarves and hats with cups of warm drinks in their hands and as the tears streamed down my face, I told Ulysses we needed to move back to New York, that I missed the “changing of the seasons”.
Fast forward to present time and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know that I sincerely regret that decision.
Twenty-five year olds shouldn’t be able to make life-altering decisions like that. And while I love my family close by here, I love my quality of life a lot too.
For six months during the barren wasteland of a New York winter, I’d give anything for that 70 degree breeze and sunny Florida sky again to just be outside and active.
All that being said, the first few weeks of fall in the northeast are magical.
It’s still warm enough in the middle of the day where the heat has yet to kick on, but mornings and nights are filled with that deliciously fall crisp air.
The trees are the most gorgeous display of colors, flickering through the windows as the leaves drop to the ground.
And, of course, the arrival of cozy warm spice drinks like hot chocolate made with pumpkin becomes not only socially acceptable again, but your body craves them because it just “feels” right.
It’s hard to make a pumpkin spice latte feel appropriate in 80 degree weather with palm trees swaying about. I much prefer creating those cozy comforting drinks at home so I can customize them to my taste and easily create the coffeehouse flavors and sweet aromas I love at home, my way.
Even after trying to modify drinks in the coffee shops, they just never come out good enough to justify their inflated pricing.
Pumpkin is, well, pumpkin and of course a necessity this time of year.
And chocolate just makes everything better.
So with all three in this hot chocolate I can assure you, it’s a brilliant addition to your fall routine and a great way to reward yourself with a cozy treat.
- milk – any kind will work
- cocoa powder
- pumpkin puree
- Tate + Lyle hazelnut pure cane syrup – Tate+Lyle® Gourmet Beverage Syrups (available in the sugars aisle at Walmart and other retailers) are made with 100% natural pure cane sugar, are Fairtrade certified, and are the perfect in-home solution to flavored drinks.
- whipped cream for topping
How to Make Pumpkin Hot Chocolate
Whisk together the milk, cocoa powder, syrup, salt, and pumpkin puree in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
Bring it to a simmer, then pour in your mugs.
Top with whipped cream if desired!
Tips for Making + Variations of Homemade Hot Cocoa
- If you don’t want to use the hazelnut syrup, you can leave it out (but you will need to add 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar so it will be a tad sweet) or swap for a different flavor.
- Stir the hot chocolate often so the milk doesn’t scorch.
- Not a fan of whipped cream? Toss in some mini marshmallows instead.
- For more pumpkin spice flavor, add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg or a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
- To serve a crowd, make a big batch on the stove. Then transfer to a crockpot and set to warm.
More Fall and Winter Drink Recipes
- Apple Cinnamon Tea Latte
- Simply Spiked Cider with Oven Baked Apple Crisps
- Coconut Bourbon Coffee Nog
- Coconut Chai Hot Toddy
- 2 cups milk (any kind)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons Tate + Lyle hazelnut pure cane syrup
- pinch of kosher salt
- whipped cream for topping
- Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot over medium heat. Whisk and bring to a simmer.
- Pour into mugs once hot and top with whipped cream.