I have a go-to hot chocolate recipe for my family. It’s a modified version of one from the Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes book and it’s always a hit on snow days and special occasions. So for our Christmas Bonfire & Carol Sing I knew I had to figure out how to make it for a crowd of 40-45 people. I made 2 gallons (32 cups) and had a little less than a 1/2 gallon left over. I’d rather have too much than too little, so I’m pretty happy with my calculations.
2 gallons whole milk, divided
2 cups cocoa powder
2 2/3 cups sugar
1-2 tbsp vanilla
Combine the cocoa power, sugar, and about 4 cups of the milk in a large pot. Use an immersion blender (or just a hand mixer if you don’t have one) until you get a rich chocolatey syrup. It won’t be as thick as the commercial brands, it will taste about the same. I use the same pot I plan to cook in, then tilt it a bit to get the blender fully immersed. Actually, I forgot that the immersion was a key step in using an immersion blender and ended up with chocolate syrup all over. Miss O thought it was hilarious. Mr. O did not.
Pour in the rest of the milk and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Cook on the lowest heat you can for 6 hours, stirring every half hour or so. Yes, that sounds like an enormous pain in the butt, but I was making Michigan Rock Cookies at the time, so I just stirred after each tray came out of the oven. The lower the heat the more time you can let pass between stirs.
Serve piping hot in a 3-liter Airpot! Refill the Airpot as needed.
I recommend having lots of mix-ins available, too. We had mini-marshmallows, candy cane pieces, caramel syrup, hazelnut syrup, Bailey’s and Kahlua. Give it a stir every so often if you think of it so the chocolate doesn’t settle to the bottom.
I’ll also bring a carafe full of this hot cocoa to teachers at Miss O’s school as an extra thank you. It’s always a big hit and there’s never any left.