Everybody loves hot cocoa, right? I do, my partner does, you do, bugs do… wait, what?
So, a few days ago, a friend of mine (hi Iz!) wanted some hot cocoa. The trouble is, when she went to go fish out the mix from the cabinets, it was full of bugs! Turns out there are bugs (probably moths or something) that will work their way into pantry items like hot cocoa and infest them as a food source. And why not? Plenty of sugar means its full of calories for the little critters.
I’m pretty sure Iz didn’t want to foster a swarm of moth larvae, nor did she want to drink them, so she was out of luck. Or was she? Jessie to the rescue!
I used to buy hot cocoa mix all the time, and we would have mugs a few times a week all winter long. After a while, though, two things happened. First, I got big into tea. I tend to drink tea two or three times a day now, which doesn’t leave as much room for cocoa. Second, my partner got into drinking chocolate, which is a LOT thicker and richer than cocoa.
What this meant is, it didn’t make sense to keep hot cocoa mix around anymore. I’ve never had it get infested with bugs, but I HAVE had it clump up and turn hard as a rock from humidity. So, instead, I just learned how to make some hot cocoa from scratch.
Turns out? It’s actually way better anyway. You get a smoother, richer hot cocoa out of a homemade blend, plus you can add all the little treats you’d have to pay extra for at the store. I mean, you still have to buy those bits, but it’s easy to add them.
To Milk or Not To Milk?
My partner loves whole milk, so his hot cocoa is almost always made with whole milk. Since I have issues with potassium, I try to stay away from dairy milk, and I use almond milk. Specifically, I use chocolate almond milk. It’s almost as rich as whole milk, it’s sweet and chocolaty on its own, and I always have some on hand.
You could make my hot cocoa mix with water, skim milk, regular almond milk, or any of the milk alternatives just fine. Coconut milk would let you make something that tastes like a Mounds bar, and if you went 50/50 on almond milk and coconut milk, you’d have an Almond Joy. That’s all up to you, though; I’ll stick with my almond milk.
The best part of hot cocoa is all of the delicious stuff you can put in and/or on it. In the pictures I have, I used a sprinkle of cinnamon, some mini chocolate chips, and of course, whipped cream. I have plenty of ideas for more, though.
- Andes candy chips or peppermint chips, for a minty treat.
- A dash of peppermint extract or orange extract to give more depth to the chocolate.
- Marshmallows, of course! Maybe don’t do both marshmallow and whipped cream, but I won’t stop you if you do.
Let me know what your favorite thing to put in hot cocoa is! I want more ideas, to justify making this more and more often.
One thing before we get to the recipe; I have the whole process for making a couple mugs of hot cocoa here below. You can, however, just mix up the dry ingredients and save it for later, if you want. It stores well enough, though if it gets too humid it might clump up. Even then, you can just dissolve the clumps in your milk of choice. Now, onto the recipe.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
- Sauce Pan
- 4 Cups Milk I use chocolate almond milk
- ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ½ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips Plus extra for decoration
- ¼ Tsp Vanilla Extract
- Additional Toppings to Taste See post above for ideas
- Whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder. Note that this recipe can scale up to make as much as you want, just keep equal parts of both ingredients.
- Start heating up your milk in a sauce pan, and whisk in your mix.
- Once hot (but not boiling), add your chocolate chips and stir to melt them in and smooth it out.
- Embellish and serve! Whisk in vanilla extract or another extract. Top with whipped cream and any cinnamon, chocolate drizzle, candy bits, or chocolate shavings you like. Make it yours!