8cupsmilk(whole or 2%), warmed to 90-100 degrees F*
1-1/2cupsheavy cream, warmed to 90-100 degrees F*
1/4cupunsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 to 3/4cupsgranulated sugar(to taste)
2cupssemisweet chocolate chips(or finely-chopped chocolate from a block - 12 ounces total)
pinchkosher or sea salt
whipped cream, marshmallows, candy canes, chocolate shavings, for serving
Whisk togther warm milk, cream, vanilla, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in the insert of a 4.5 to 6.5 quart slow cooker. (Cocoa powder will not dissolve fully - mix it as well as you can.) Stir in chocolate chips.
Place the lid on the slow cooker, set it to LOW, and cook for 2 hours, until the mixture is hot and the chocolate is melted. Whisk the hot chocolate every 30 to 45 minutes as it heats. If, at the end of the cooking time, you still see little flecks of chocolate, whisk vigorously for just a few seconds, and they will melt into the base for a smooth and creamy drink.
Stir the hot chocolate before serving each cup. You can keep the hot chocolate on the WARM setting of the slow cooker for up to 2 hours (as long as it's maintaining a temperature above 140 degrees F). Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
*See the Food Safety section of the article above for why I recommend taking the chill off of the dairy before adding it to the slow cooker.For additional flavor ideas for your hot chocolate, see the Variations section above.For ideas and instructions for hot chocolate accompaniments, see the Serving section.Click here for recipe FAQ's.