100 g (3½ oz) good-quality chocolate
25 g (1 oz) caster sugar
750 ml (14 pints) milk
few drops of vanilla extract
little ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons Kahlúa coffee liqueur (optional)
mini marshmallows, to serve


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Put the chocolate and sugar in the slow cooker pot, then add the milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon.
2.Cover with the lid and cook on low for 2-3 hours, whisking once or twice, until the chocolate has melted and the drink is hot. Stir in the Kahlúa, if using.
3.Ladle into mugs and top with a few mini marshmallows.
4.FOR HOT CHOCOLATE WITH BRANDY CREAM, make up the hot chocolate as above, replacing the Kahlúa with 3 tablespoons brandy.
5.Whip 125 ml (4 8 oz) double cream with 2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar until soft peaks form, then gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons brandy.
6.Pour the hot chocolate into mugs, then top with spoonfuls of the whipped cream and dust lightly with drinking chocolate powder or grated chocolate.
7.FOR MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE, put 50 g (2 oz) cocoa powder and 4 teaspoons instant coffee into the slow cooker pot. Measure 1 litre boiling water.
8.Make a smooth paste by mixing a little of the boiling water with the cocoa and coffee. Add the rest of the water, 150 ml (4 pint) rum, 100 g (3½ oz) caster sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 dried red chilli, cut in half.
9.Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Discard the chilli and ladle into 4 cups. Top with 150 ml (4 pint) double cream.

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