Test Kitchen: Bookish Hot Chocolate

December 18, 2020

We've tested it and it's true: hot chocolate is best served with books. Check out our book and hot chocolate pairings, below. 



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Spicy Hot Chocolate 

spicy hot chocolate


Yields 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 cups of milk (or substitute with almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 1 chili pepper, split in half and seeds removed
  • 1–4 tablespoons brown sugar or honey, depending on taste


  1. Melt the chocolate with a little of the milk in a small pot over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in the remaining milk, the cinnamon, vanilla, and dash of salt.
  3. Add the chili pepper to the pot and bring the pot to a near boil.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 10 mins.
  5. Remove and discard the chili pepper.
  6. Whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time to your liking.



Pairs best with...

Filthy Sugar by Heather Babcock (Inanna Publications)



Turn up the heat some more with Heather Babcock's Filthy Sugar, a cinematic, dream-like romp through the Jazz Age of flappers and artists, and the colour and sensation of 1930s burlesque. The adventures and misadventures of its redheaded heroine Wanda Whittle will be the extra spice to your sinfully delicious hot chocolate!

Buy it on All Lit Up





Parisian Hot Chocolate via Pardon your French


parisian hot chocolate


Yields 4 servings

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 10 ounces (260g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 to 8 tbsp (50g to 100g) brown sugar (light or dark) – depending on how sweet you like it
  • Optional: Whipped cream, for garnish
  • Optional: Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish



  1. Heat up the milk in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Turn the heat off, and whisk in the chopped chocolate. Whisk continuously until the chocolate is all melted.
  2. Turn the heat back on to medium, and bring the hot chocolate to a slow simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, and whisk occasionally until you reach the desired thickness.
  3. Turn the heat off and whisk in the brown sugar.
  4. Pour the hot chocolate into individual cups (4 US size coffee cups or 6 to 8 French size cappuccino/tea cups). Optional: Top each cup with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a dusting a unsweetened cocoa. Serve immediately.

This recipe is from Pardon your French.



Pairs best with...


One Madder Woman by Dede Crane (Freehand Books)




Armchair travel to 19th-century Paris with Dede Crane's One Madder Woman, a clandestine love story between two visionary artists—Berthe Morisot and Édouard Manet. In this fictional account of Morisot's life, Crane paints a vivid portrait of the only female painter in the circle of French Impressionists that is deeply moving, passionate, and rich. 

Buy it on All Lit Up





Peppermint Hot Chocolate


peppermint hot chocolate


Yields 1-2 servings

  • 1/4 cup cream 
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp peppermint baking chips
  • Optional: candy cane and marshmellows



  1. Add cream, sugar, milk and vanilla to a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil
  2. Remove from the heat and add cocoa, chocolate chips, and peppermint to the saucepan
  3. Whisk until melted and smooth
  4. Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows and a candy cane!



Pairs well with...

The Unpleasantness at the Battle of Thornford by C.C. Benison (At Bay Press)



Your peppermint hot chocolate needs a side of cozy Christmas mystery with C.C. Benison's The Unpleasantness at the Battle of Thornford. This latest in the Father Christmas Mystery series sees The Reverend Tom "Father" Christmas at it again in a delightful, twisty, plot-driven story about murder and intrigue in the village of Thornford Regis. This is a great little book to cozy up with over the holidays. 

Buy it on All Lit Up




Frozen Hot Chocolate


frozen hot choco


Yields 3-4 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate milk 
  • 1 cup (5 to 6 ounces) of your preferred dry hot chocolate mix
  • 3-4 cups cubed or crushed ice 
  • Whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles or shavings, for garnish, if desired



  1. Add the milk, hot chocolate mix and ice, in the order listed, to a blender and process until smooth
  2. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and chocolate shaving/sprinkles, if desired.




Pairs well with...

Fauna by Christiane Vadnais, translated by Pablo Strauss (Coach House Books)



Our frozen hot chocolate will set the mood for this chilling eco-horror set in a near-future world destroyed by climate change. As a thick fog and toxic green skies roll over Shivering Heights, a biologist fights to understand the nature and scope of the changing world around her in this post-apocalyptic tableaux of ten linked climate fictions that are wild, searing, and thrilling to the very end. 

Buy it on All Lit Up




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