Like popcorn, hot chocolate is one of those things that you can make from scratch with the exact same effort as with a mix from the store, and the results are tastier and free of nasty chemicals. See how easy it is — there are endless variations besides these few that come to mind.
1 qt of hot cocoa (4 servings)
2 generous tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
4-6 generous tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 single serving of hot cocoa in a mug
1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa
1-3 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch sea salt (optional)
Couple drops vanilla (optional)
Instructions for either one:
Stir together sugar, cocoa, and salt in a mug or in a quart jar. Fill mug or jar 1/2 – 3/4 full of boiling water. Stir well. Fill the rest of the way with milk. Add vanilla. DONE. The less milk you use the hotter it will be. For kids, I usually go 1/2 and 1/2 with milk and boiling water so they can drink it right away. Or if I’m feeling like a really nice mom, I heat up the milk gently on the stove and use just milk.
Play around a bit with the ratio of sugar to cocoa — when I make it just for myself I like it a little bitter.
And now for the funnest part of making your own: the endless variations.
Super creamy and amazingly good hot chocolate in the style of Blue Moon Coffee Cafe in south Minneapolis (thanks for the recipe CJ!)
For a single serving in a mug, mix 1 teaspoon high quality Belgian cocoa and 6 teaspoons sugar (SIX!), then add steamed hot whole milk to fill the mug. Top with whipped cream (WOW).
Pre-mixed hot cocoa mix to give as gifts:
It’s all about the ratio: mix 1 part cocoa to 4 or 5 parts sugar. Place in jars, and instruct gift recipient to mix 3 teaspoons full with hot water and a bit of milk.
Other simple variations:
Replace vanilla extract with almond or peppermint extract.
Add some Kahlua, Baileys, or whatever you like.
Replace milk with egg nog.
Replace sugar with brown sugar, honey (use less), or maple syrup.
Can you think of more variations? Also: Merry Christmas, all of you.