There’s a group of chocolate elitists out there who don’t consider white chocolate to be “real.” It might surprise you (considering I am an elitist for plenty of other foods, see fruit bakes) that I am not part of this group. I’m not picky when it comes to chocolate, although ultra super dark is my favorite. One benefit white chocolate has is allowing you to highlight other flavors, since its own is more subtle. That’s what I did here with this Chai White Hot Chocolate.
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How to Serve This Tasty Drink
This chai white hot chocolate is flavorful and rich enough to drink on its own, any time of the day. I enjoyed it as a mid-afternoon snack! You can also drink it with breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
The white chocolate adds sweetness and the chai includes cinnamon and spices, so I would complement those flavors when pairing with foods. Try something fruity with a slight tartness, like apple butter brioche cinnamon rolls or apple kuchen. The spices will also pair well with cinnamon praline stuffed challah, or vegan lentil-pecan breakfast sausage.
How to Make a Chai White Hot Chocolate
The first step here is to infuse the milk with the chai. I decided to add the tea bags directly into simmered milk, instead of using boiling water, because I really wanted this to have a rich texture. I was concerned making the tea as usual would water down the whole drink.
Once the milk is infused, you can start adding the white chocolate chips. If you can only find baking wafers, they may work, but take longer to melt because they are larger. When adding the chips, add a few at a time and let them mix in. If you add them all at once, you might get clumps that don’t melt as well.
Salt, vanilla extract, and heavy cream help add a little bit of extra flavor and texture to the drink. It may seem a little odd to add salt here, but this small amount won’t taste salty. Instead it will highlight the chai and white chocolate flavors.
Adding the frothed milk and cinnamon sugar on top just makes everything feel even more decadent and fancy. I outline the three different ways to get frothy milk in the recipe below, and I’m sure one of these will work perfectly for you. I used my handheld milk frother, even though I have an espresso maker as well.
This tastes best served immediately. However, if you need to make it in advance, the hot chocolate itself will be okay in the fridge for a day or so. It may separate a little bit, so when you reheat it be sure to stir thoroughly. Add the frothed milk just before serving, since that won’t hold up in the fridge.
Chai White Hot Chocolate
- 2 1/2 Cups Milk divided
- 2 Bags Chai Tea
- 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
- In a small pot, heat 1 1/2 cups of the milk, over medium high until hot. It should be bubbling but don't let it boil. Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Let steep for 5-7 minutes.
- Squeeze any excess liquid from the tea bags, and heat the milk mixture again until it just starts to bubble. Add the chocolate chips, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring each batch until they are melted.
- Add in the salt, vanilla, and heavy cream. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, being careful not to let it boil over. Split between two 12-oz coffee mugs. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small dish.
- Meanwhile, froth the remaining cup of milk in on of three ways: a. If you have an espresso machine, use the steamer until the milk is warm to the touch and frothy. b. Heat the milk in a heatproof jar or mug that can hold twice the volume, in the microwave for 45 seconds, and then use a milk frother until it's foamy.c. Add the milk to a 1-pint mason jar, and seal tightly. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Then remove the lid and microwave for 45 seconds.
- Top the mugs with the frothed milk. Top with the cinnamon sugar and serve immediately.
- When cooking milk, watch it closely. It can go very quickly from small bubbles to boiling over, which is no fun to clean!
- If you prefer, you can top these with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or any of your other favorites.
- If you don't have chai tea, you can infuse the milk with any mild-flavored black tea and add in two cinnamon sticks, 10 whole cloves, 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, 6 whole allspice berries, and/or a star anise as desired. Strain when you remove the tea bags.
- For variations, try this with other tea flavors, such as earl grey or green. I would not use citrus-flavored teas in this.
- Make ahead tip: Complete the first three steps, and then transfer the hot chocolate to a glass container. Let it sit covered loosely at room temperature until cooled. Then fully seal and transfer to the fridge, for 1-2 days. Froth the milk and top just before serving.