It has been getting colder and colder here in the south eastern part of the States with chances of snow becoming surprisingly likely again. While my go-to hot drink is black coffee, there is something comfortingly sweet about hot chocolate. And I’m not talking about that hot cocoa pre-packaged stuff; they just taste too watered down. My bf and I set out to find an easy-to-remake hot chocolate recipe on the great world wide web aka google. It wasn’t until then that we learned that hot chocolate and hot cocoa are not interchangeable and are indeed made differently.
The easiest way to differentiate between the two is that hot chocolate is made with actual chocolate pieces while hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder.
We’ve found that making hot chocolate was messier to make and control due to the warmed chocolate pieces. The lazy part of us opted for the hot cocoa recipes instead as we did not taste much of a difference in taste between the two drinks.
At first, we were following this recipe from AllRecipes. But I thought it could be creamier and found it with this recipe from FoodWishes. A quick glance of the ingredient list with the word “cayenne” in it may
deter surprise you, but the spice is hardly noticeable in the taste and rather ups the ante of the chocolate flavor. The spice works very well in balancing the sweetness, and thus, giving it an overall mild sweetness. We have used whole and 2% milk in this recipe and it tastes even creamier than the AllRecipes’s recipe that calls for half-and-half milk. We also like how we can make a whole batch of it and store it in a container for future use or gift it as a stocking stuffer.
Note the asterisks for our tweaks to the original recipe.
Ingredients: (Makes enough for about 10 cups of cocoa; each cup is 8 oz)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- pinch of cayenne
- 1 (transparent) container storage
- 1 cup (8 oz) milk for 1 serving**(Use whatever milk you like; we’ve used whole and 2% and both worked well. Our mugs can hold up to 10 oz of liquid so we used 10 oz of milk instead of 8 oz per serving.)
- Prepare the dry ingredients in a container and mix thoroughly.
- Heat the milk in small pot while stirring occasionally with a whisk to avoid accidental scorching at the bottom. **(We also pre-heat the milk in the microwave for 30 secs before adding to the pot as it takes a longer time to heat up in the pot since we’re impatient.)
- Prepare 2 tablespoons of the dry mixture per serving. When the milk is hot, add the dry mixture intp the pot. Stir as much as possible until all of it is dissolved. **(We use a strainer when adding the dry mixture to make it easier for it to dissolve. We found a lot of clumping occurs when the dry mixture wasn’t sifted. We also use a whisk for the stirring part for faster mixing.)
- Serve when most, if not all, powder have dissolved. Turn off heat.
- (Optional) Add whipped cream and/or shaved chocolate on top before serving. **We like to add a sprinkle of cayenne for a little bit of “warmth”.
Note 1: During our trials with this recipe, we had added a dollop of vanilla extract after Step 3, but we didn’t notice any difference to the original taste, so we stopped doing that.
Note 2: We have added a dusting of cinnamon for garnish as many hot cocoa/chocolate recipes have done, but it did not go well with this recipe, but feel free to try for yourself.