Photo by Allie Bloom

Hopefully you’ve braced yourself because winter is here, and walks to class have become treacherous, icy death traps. Yet even with the biting temperatures, there is one thing that everyone starts looking forward to when the thermometer drops: hot chocolate. We all have those little instant packets in our dorms or apartments that we can take out on a snowy day, but, just like the constant snow, the same hot chocolate can get boring after months of the same thing. Here is a list of 10 simple ingredients that can transform your instant into gourmet.

1. Chocolate Chips

What’s better to add to melted chocolate than gooey, melted chocolate?

2. Coffee

You’re in college; you already drink 5 cups a day. What’s a half a cup more?

3. Honey

Honey is great to thicken hot chocolate while making it just a tad sweeter as well. This tastes especially good if you balance out the sweetness with just a pinch of salt.

4. Fruit

Think of your favorite chocolate-covered fruit. Now put that fruit in a blender with your hot coco. Blend it up and enjoy.

5. Girl Scout Cookies

One good thing about this crushingly cold winter is that it’s Girl Scout Cookie season! Dip your favorite cookie in your cup as a snack, or blend it in to change the flavor of your drink.

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6. Peanut butter

Peanut butter and chocolate are best friends and snow sure isn’t going to break them apart. For best results, use creamy peanut butter and be sure to allow enough time for it to melt completely.

7. Cinnamon

This is a delicious ingredient that will literally spice up your hot chocolate. Put in a pinch for a small boost or a spoonful for a real flavor change.

8. Orange Zest

Take a few orange peels and let them sit at the bottom of your cup. Pour the hot chocolate over them, and let the whole concoction steep for a few minutes to add a citrusy boost to your cup.

9. Maple Syrup

This is like honey on steroids. Rather than having a mild sweetener, you’re going full out and really changing the flavor of the chocolate. For this reason, it’s the perfect addition to hot dark chocolate.

10. Chile Powder

This one sounds gross, but if there was ever a time to use the phrase “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” this is it. The spice adds a sweet kick that blends with the creaminess of the chocolate.

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