My southern friends can keep their ice cold sweet tea this time of year. Baby, it’s cold outside, and in times like these (The Freezing Time here in The Frozen Tundra*) I’m not interested in chilling down my insides as well, no matter how trendy it is. I’m rather interested in the opposite, actually. We can talk sweet tea in July (I’ve actually grown to like it despite my initial “I don’t like my tea sweetened” protests). It really should be designated a summer drink…
For now, I need something warm. And chocolate.
I realized a couple years back that I was spending a considerable sum buying up giant containers of hot cocoa mix for our growing family. Swiss Miss, Carnation, I’d buy whichever brand was on sale, but still, it was seriously adding up.
The price, especially when buying multiple canisters at a time, along with the fact that I noticed words like corn syrup, modified whey, hydrogenated coconut oil, dipotassium phosphate, and one of my least favorite things to find on our food labels- Artificial Flavor. “Blech.”
I knew I wanted something different, so I turned to my dear friend, Google, and asked for a better cocoa solution. I found Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa Recipe at www.foodnetwork.com, and then I doubled it. 🙂
And then I upped the sweetness factor just a bit. Alton’s original recipe is good, but like many of the reviews mentioned, it just isn’t nearly as sweet as the cocoa we’re used to. I was tempted to double his sugar content, and then I remembered how I’m actually trying to cut back on the sugar intake and the sweet cravings around here, and decided that, while we would like it sweeter, we didn’t need to go crazy.
There are quite a few versions of homemade hot cocoa mix out there, but many, maybe most, of them use non-dairy creamer. Again with the “blech”. I’m no hard-core crunchy all-organic food snob, but I do prefer to at least make an effort to eat foods made of natural ingredients…
Here’s the recipe we’re using now, regular size batch quantities first, and large-family double-batch quantities in italics and parentheses. I saved you the trouble of doing the math. Sometimes I’m sweet that way.
An Ordinary Mom’s-
Homemade Cocoa Mix
1 c cocoa (2 c)
3 c powdered sugar (6 c)
2 ½ c powdered milk (5 c)
1 tsp salt (2 tsp)
2 tsp cornstarch (4 tsp)
Small pinch of cayenne pepper (slightly bigger small pinch)
Ok, if you’re not feeling very brave, or if you have a house-full of littles with sensitive tummies, you can skip the cayenne pepper, but you really should give it a try first. You don’t actually taste it, but you can feel it, just a touch of added warmth to your warm drink! Cayenne pepper is really quite good for you, it’s an energizing spice and even in this small amount adds just enough zip to your cup that I can a-a-almost promise you’ll like it…
Hint- you can whip some plain old granular sugar in a blender to break it down if you don’t have an abundance of powdered sugar on hand. Been there, done that.
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
To make: Put 1/4 cup of mix into your favorite mug (more, if preferred), and add 1 cup of hot water (or 3/4 cup of hot water, leaving room for a couple ice cubes to cool it down faster for anxious kids…) Stir until dissolved, and enjoy! Marshmallows and crushed candy canes optional. Freshly whipped cream highly recommended. 🙂