So I ran across a recipe for “crock pot hot chocolate”.

For those of you who are curious it is:

  • 1.5 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups of vanilla chocolate chips
  • 6 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I don’t have a crock pot so I did this in a spaghetti pot. The only thing I did differently is that I used a smaller saucepan to melt the chocolate chips, using the sweetened condensed milk to hydrate it. This just made things easier. Afterwards I simply stirred and waited for it to get to about 70 degrees Celsius.

I was careful to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as I stirred, although mostly during the beginning part when the chocolate was just added in. Later on I would leave it alone for maybe about a minute at a time but I would immediately stir to get rid of the film that had formed.

The hot chocolate was fantastic! Like a HUGE hit! However I am worried very much about something. There was this smell that I noticed occasionally while cooking. I had assumed it was just something on the burners, maybe even something from the recipe.

However, later on I let the remaining drink cool and was pouring it down the garbage disposal and the smell was back. It was really bad and very strong. I have no clue why! A friend had earlier smelled the chocolate after it was cooling and said he noticed the same thing.

What was the smell from? Do any of the ingredients I use smell particularly noticeable when burnt? Can burning a small amount account for the strong smell that was produced when the remainder was poured into the drain?

I really wish I could describe the smell but I really can't relate it to anything. It certainly wasn’t a rotten smell but it was bad and very strong.

  • 2
    Burnt chocolate (like if you got some on the outside of the pan) has quite a strong smell, but it's clearly a burnt smell, and the same is true for milk. When you poured away the leftovers, do you mean from the cups it was served in, or from the pan? It's possible that something trapped underneath and burnt could then be smelt again
    – Chris H
    Dec 12, 2018 at 14:30
  • 1
    Out of curiosity: vanilla chocolate chips? Is that chocolate chips with vanilla added, or white chocolate, or something else I haven't heard of?
    – Erica
    Dec 12, 2018 at 22:08
  • 1
    I used regular chocolate chips and added vanilla extract
    – J.Doe
    Dec 13, 2018 at 0:17
  • 1
    Overdosed vanilla flavor can be perceived as stinky by some.... Dec 17, 2018 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


Deliberately burn some chocolate so you have a reference to compare the smell with. Burnt chocolate does smell bad.

If you were heating the chocolate directly over a heat source -- and not e.g. using a water bath (which protects the mixture from overheating) -- then chances are that you did burn some chocolate/condensed milk, and then stirred the burnt material into the mix. Letting the mixture sit may have allowed the burned solids to accumulate at the bottom of the pan, making the smell more obvious when poured out.

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