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How to make the perfect hot chocolate
It's as easy as one, two, three
Get it while it's hot!
Get it while it's hot! (FOOD52.com/James Ransom)

You have probably been making hot chocolate without a recipe for your entire life — because for many, hot chocolate can mean dumping a few scoops of some mix (or a packet of Swiss Miss) into a mug, adding a few glugs of milk, and heating the whole thing in the microwave. Making hot chocolate from scratch was something you probably didn't even think to do — because if you did think about it, you'd realize how truly simple it is.

I was one of those mix-people, until I ran out of mix — and, using the odds and ends of chocolate found in my pantry, made hot chocolate myself. My winters have never been the same.

Being able to make hot chocolate with any kind of chocolate — and any kind of dairy — makes you a superhero this season; it cures colds, it cures moods, it solves breakfast and snack and dessert. Here's how to do it, with whatever you've got.

How to make hot chocolate without a recipe

1. Melt your chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) with half of your milk. For a big mug of hot chocolate, I used 3 ounces of chocolate for every two cups of milk; feel free to use good-quality cocoa powder in the place of some or all of the chocolate. I'm a fan of La Boite Hot Chocolate and More chips, which are spiced; if you're using plain chocolate, feel free to play with the spices yourself.

2. Whisk in the rest of your milk, and let the mixture heat through. Taste it; if it's not sweet enough, add sugar.

3. Pour into a warm mug, top with marshmallows or whipped cream, and drink up!

Photos by James Ransom. This article originally appeared on Food52.com: How to make hot chocolate without a recipe.

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