Mascarpone Is The Secret Ingredient For Luxurious Hot Chocolate

Rich, creamy, and often topped with a pile of gooey marshmallows, hot chocolate is one seasonal delicacy that warms your bones on a chilly day and doubles as a sweet treat. While there are many secrets to making the best hot chocolate, adding a dollop of mascarpone is one tasty combination that's getting slept on. This ultra-smooth type of cream cheese is best known for lending its buttery flavors to tiramisu, and is a culinary staple in northern Italy where it originated. Compared to normal cream cheese, which is usually thick and tangy, mascarpone's high fat content makes it a slightly sweet, savory addition that can easily melt into many dishes. Italians sometimes add it to their coffee, so it makes a lot of sense that mascarpone can also work its magic when spooned into a warm cup of hot chocolate as well.

There are a couple ways you can upgrade your hot chocolate with the help of mascarpone. Buying some and simply stirring it into your cup is the easiest route you could take, as long as you're aware of this cheese's short shelf life. It works similarly if you were to mix it into other piping hot comfort foods, which is why using mascarpone cheese to thicken brothy soups is a popular hack during soup season. Since it's basically a richer form of whipped cream, you could even make some mascarpone whipped cream and top your hot chocolate with it.

How to make mascarpone whipped cream for your next hot chocolate

Upgrading favorite decadent hot chocolate recipe with some mascarpone whipped cream is all too easy, and adding other common ingredients along with it can give your wintry drink that tiramisu edge you've been craving. To make it, you'll need to use a hand mixer or whisk together some mascarpone (around ¾ cup) with a cup of heavy whipping cream until you've created soft peaks. You can add some powdered sugar if you've got a sweet tooth, or cocoa powder for a chocolaty twist, but this isn't necessary for your whipped cream to turn out delicious. Some other ideas you could try include adding honey, vanilla or almond extract, or a pinch of sea salt. Your mascarpone whipped cream won't melt away as quickly as whipped cream does; rather, it'll hold a stable shape for a while due to its thickness.

Now all that's left to do is to top your hot chocolate — maybe add a light dusting of cocoa powder if you want it to look extra-fancy — and slowly sip on your newly improved beverage. Be sure to use up all the mascarpone whipped cream you've made relatively soon, or brainstorm other foods you can use it for to use it all up before it goes bad. Mascarpone pairs great with sweet desserts like tarts, pies, and cakes, but can also work well in savory pasta dishes, seasoned eggs, or soups that need a little extra oomph.