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Thick, Velvety Homemade Tahini Hot Chocolate

I think I follow too many food bloggers. When I open my Instagram feed around the holidays and am treated to a visual infiltration of rich, thick homemade hot chocolate being poured in a giant Christmas mug, how am I NOT supposed to get cravings for melted chocolate in a cup?! This thick, velvety Homemade Tahini Hot Chocolate is my favourite homemade hot chocolate recipe I've refined over a few years. As a bonus, it's "healthier" than most!

Worlds best homemade hot chocolate with real melted chocolate

One year, Ryan and I had to go to New York City just before Christmas for some filming with a sponsor. There's nothing quite like NYC during the holidays! I had a few hours to kill while Ryan was filming, so I planned a long run across the city. We (Suunto and I) ran through central park, stopped at Levain Bakery (if you haven't experienced the cookies, you must go!), and visited the Rockefeller center with the giant Christmas tree. Suunto actually had more photos taken of him than the tree was getting... I guess you don't see many giant fluffy dogs in NYC. The main purpose of my run, though, was to find the best hot chocolate the city had to offer. If you Google it, you'll get several websites listing NYC's top ten. I compared a few, narrowed it down to four that kept popping up, and fueled my 30km run with hot chocolate and sugar. FYI, my favourite ended up being Jacques Torres... it wasn't too sweet, was super thick, and they had homemade marshmallows! I dream about that hot chocolate.

Tahini hot chocolate

So now every year around the holidays, I get this hot chocolate craving, thanks to that adventure. I tried several recipes, but found that many of them use powdered sugar, weird additives like cornstarch to thicken them, and are way too sweet for my liking.

I came up with my own recipe, which uses just a bit of maple syrup to sweeten it and counter the bitterness of the cocoa powder. There's also real chocolate melted in there, of course, and it's super thick and delicious! I thicken it with nut butter, which you can't taste much, but I deem a lot healthier than using cornstarch or cream. I just make this with 2% milk. Overall, this hot chocolate is velvety, sooo delicious, definitely filling, but healthier than a lot of the alternatives out there.

For the nut butter, I love tahini most of all! I would definitely classifiy tahini as one of my favourite nut (or seed, in this case!) butters. I've also made this hot chocolate with almond butter and pecan butter, which were also both delicious. You can't taste the nut butter too much, it just adds a delicious hint of flavour and helps to make it rich and creamy. Tahini is my favourite nut butter choice, because it adds a yummy savory element.

Rich homemade hot chocolate

These are the ingredients:

  • Maple syrup

  • Cocoa powder

  • 2% milk

  • Tahini (you could use almond butter, sunflower butter, pecan butter, or whatever appeals most)

  • Chocolate! I use dark or milk chocolate depending on my mood. You could totally use white chocolate if you wanted it a bit sweeter!

You could also add peppermint or orange extract, if you wanted to really customize this and add some true holiday flavour. I love to top this with whipped cream and/or marshmallows! I've sprinkled candy cane chunks on top for some peppermint crunch, or cocoa nibs. The possibilities are endless - customize it to your own vision!

Best homemade hot chocolate

Homemade Marshmallows!

One of my favourite parts of creating a blog post is taking the photos. I majored in Image Arts at University - graphic design, photography, etc. Photography is a secret passion of mine. I really love making the recipe I'm writing about, then styling it worthy of the saying "We eat with our eyes," and trying to capture it in a photo. So when I'm planning a blog, I take a second to think about how I can make it look extra delicious.

For this blog post, it was an excuse for me to make homemade marshmallows. I've only made them one other time, but they're really fun! I think because you're working with hot sugar, which can be finicky, bakers make homemade marshmallows sound a lot scarier than they really are. I've never had issues working with sugar - making caramel (despite the horror stories that happen on Great British Baking Show), marshmallows, etc. I would totally recommend trying to make your own marshmallows, it was really fun!

Homemade vanilla marshmallows

I would recommend reading the whole blog before making these, because it really breaks down the steps and ingredients. Because sugar syrup can be finnickey, it helped me to understand why I was using each ingredient, and what was important in each step during the process. It's probably why it went quite smoothly for me (despite the power outage at the critical moment... more on that in a few sentences). I did use cornsyrup, because I didn't want to make this more complicated than it had to be. I also have a sugar thermometer, which I had bought in previous years off amazon for $15. I use it for all sorts of kitchen tasks besides sugar, and would recommend buying one as it's very handy if you cook a lot.

I used vanilla extract in these, but sort of wished I had used peppermint! Peppermint marshmallows in holiday hot chocolate would be so yummy!

Homemade marshmallows

The power outage, yikes... These marshmallows turned out perfectly, despite having the power go out at the critical moment. When you make marshmallows, you basically melt sugar and then boil it with some water until it gets super hot (called "firm ball" stage). Once it starts to cool, it will solidify really fast. You sort of need a mixer to make these, because you had to whip the sugar syrup aggressively to incorporate air. If you tried to do this without a mixer, your arm would probably fall off! Guess when my power went out? As soon as the sugar syrup reached "firm ball" stage and was ready to be whipped! Luckily, we have a camper van. I trudged the whole mixer out to the van in two feet of fresh snow and a snowstorm, fired up the van, and did some shoveling while I waited for it to finish mixing!

Homemade marshmallows

Okay, enough of my rambling! Let's make the hot chocolate! I hope you try this recipe and adore it as much as I do!


Homemade Tahini Hot Chocolate

Servings: 1 mug

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes


  • 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

  • 1.5 tablespoons tahini, or other nut butter of choice

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 10oz/1 cup milk

  • 1 oz milk or dark chocolate (you can also use white if you want it sweeter)

  • Optional: Holiday spices like cinnamon, cloves or cardamom

  • Optional for adults: Baileys or Kahlua ;)


Set a small pot on your stove over medium heat. Add all your ingredients EXCEPT the chocolate to your pot and give it a good mix together with a whisk. Let it heat, stirring occasionally, until you see it start to steam. Be careful, because milk can burn and boil over easily, so keep an eye on it. One it's warm, add your chocolate and continue to stir it occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the hot chocolate is hot!

Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, some crushed peppermint candy cane or cocoa nibs, a splash of Baileys if you want... the possibilities are endless! Customize it to your hearts desire!

Homemade Hot Chocolate

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