Monday, December 13, 2010

Hot Cocoa

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time is to sit by the fire at Robbie’s parents’ house, enjoying a mug of hot cocoa and watching my kids play next to the Christmas tree in their footy pajamas.  Just thinking about it brings warmth to my heart!  I’ll have to wait a couple more weeks before I can enjoy that fire, but I can enjoy hot cocoa any time.  In fact, I’m drinking some as I write this.

I am very picky about hot cocoa.  I do not like hot chocolate mixes, especially those that call for water.  Fortunately, it takes only minutes to make hot cocoa from scratch, and it calls for ingredients I always have on hand.  And it can be made without dairy!!

If you like sweeter hot cocoa, use only one tablespoon of cocoa.  For a more bitter flavor, use two tablespoons of cocoa.

Hot cocoa does contain a lot of sugar, and therefore, should be enjoyed in moderation.  Also keep in mind that milk is really nutritious and cocoa is packed with antioxidants.

The key to smooth hot cocoa that doesn’t have lumps in it is to add the milk to the dry ingredients rather than the dry ingredients to the milk.  Add a little milk to form a paste, then add the rest of the milk while stirring.

Hot Cocoa
1 c. milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
1-2 Tbsp. cocoa
Pinch salt
¼ tsp. vanilla
Desired toppings (optional):  marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg

Heat milk in microwave 1½-2 minutes, or until hot.  Do not boil milk.  Meanwhile, using a small whisk, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in a mug.

Whisk in 1-2 Tbsp. of the hot milk until smooth.  Whisk in remaining milk.

Add vanilla.  Top as desired.

Dairy-free:  Substitute vanilla almond milk for regular milk.  Reduce sugar to 1 1/2 Tbsp; omit vanilla.


StaceyN said...

It has been SO COLD here in Northern Cal lately, and we've drunk so much cocoa that we might as well just take it intravenously LOL! I haven't tried adding vanilla, but that sounds really good. We sometimes like cinnamon in it for a Mexican flare or peppermint extract for a little holiday cheer (topped with peppermint whipped cream, mmmmm).

The boys and I made a just-add-water cocoa mix this year with powdered milk (ala Winco bulk bins) for our friends' kids. We know some little boys who love cocoa but are allergic to milk, so we are making theirs with bulk coffee creamer (which is made from 100% GARBAGE like corn syrup and hydrogenated oils, by hey, Christmas only comes once a year). We even made some mocha mix for the grown-ups, but my hubby and I seem to be using it all up ourselves before I can package it for gifts :-).

When you visit your in-laws for Christmas, I hope I’ll have a chance to meet you in person at church. If you have time, look me up!

Sumiko said...

Thanks for your ideas, Stacey! We'll be at church the day after Christmas--hope to see you there!

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