Three words: Hot. Chocolate. Floats. Did I just blow your mind, or what?

Hot Chocolate Floats |

Maybe the rest of the world has been enjoying hot chocolate floats for years, but for some reason this concept had literally never occurred to me before. I don’t know why not—I like ice cream, I love hot chocolate, and I adore anything that I can put in a cute mug and douse in fudge sauce. This is obviously my culinary soul mate.

But I had never heard of hot chocolate floats until my friend Jane threw a party last week. I arrived, she handed me a mug filled with peppermint ice cream and rich, steaming hot chocolate, and then the heavens opened and a choir of angels sang. That Jane, she knows what’s up.

Hot Chocolate Floats |


You know how, when you add marshmallows or whipped cream to hot chocolate, they melt and create a sweet, rich foam on top of the chocolate that you can scoop up and slurp with a spoon? And if you’re really lucky, the marshmallows or cream will keep producing that foam and you can get a good half-mug’s worth before it’s gone and you’re left to drink the chocolate? Well, hot chocolate floats are like that, but are so much better because the frothy foamy goodness is actually melted ice cream, which is 65% more delicious than anything else.


Obviously, the idea behind hot chocolate floats is so simple that you don’t really need a recipe. Ice cream + hot chocolate = done. A reasonably competent monkey could make them, provided they had the ingredients and the wherewithal to work an ice cream scoop. I’m sure you can figure out the logistics yourselves.

But I am sharing a recipe for a good, thick cup of hot chocolate, because I do think that they’re much improved by using a homemade version. You’re turning these into a dessert extravaganza, for crying out loud, now is not the time to use that sorry powdered stuff! If you have a favorite hot chocolate of your own, feel free to substitute it, or make it with the powdered stuff and thumb your nose in my direction. It’s cool. As long as I can enjoy another hot chocolate float of my own, all’s right in the world.

Hot Chocolate Floats |

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Hot Chocolate Floats
Prep time
Total time
Hot chocolate has never tasted so good! Regular hot chocolate gets an upgrade by adding ice cream, hot fudge sauce, and other gourmet toppings. I love making these hot chocolate floats with rich, creamy hot chocolate made from scratch, but if you prefer, you can substitute 4 cups of prepared hot chocolate instead.
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 4-8
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar, to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 oz good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 oz good-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 quart ice cream (vanilla, peppermint, and coffee all work well!)
  • Hot fudge sauce
  • Chocolate shavings or other decorations (optional)
  1. Whisk together the cream, milk, 2 tbsp brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and cook it, whisking occasionally, until it starts to simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chopped chocolates, stirring until they’re melted. Carefully taste the mixture and add more sugar, if desired.
  2. Place 2-3 scoops of ice cream into mugs. Pour hot chocolate on top of the ice cream, and garnish with whipped cream, fudge sauce, chocolate shavings, or other toppings. Serve with spoons for maximum slurping.


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