Hot cocoa is comfort on a cold day. I like mine dark, rich, and chocolaty. This mix is all that. It's so easy to make a quick batch to have on hand during the winter months. And, this always makes a popular gift. It's hard to find someone who doesn't like hot cocoa. You'll find downloadable tags below, to make it easy for you to turn this into a gift jar.
Many hot cocoa mix recipes use an artificial coffee creamer to add creaminess to the mix. I prefer to leave out artificial ingredients and eliminate that hint of a chemical taste. This recipe, based on Alton Brown's, has pure, wholesome ingredients. It has powdered milk in it, so it's intended to be mixed with hot water. But I like to add more creaminess by doubling up on the milk--I like mine mixed with hot milk. Hot water is good, too. Your choice.
My recipe is DOUBLE chocolate, because I add mini chocolate chips along with the cocoa powder. Why? Because I can. And, my philosophy is that more chocolate is always better. The chips melt into the hot cocoa and add a layer of richness that sends me straight to chocolate heaven.
I recommend that you use the best quality cocoa you can find. That's the key to a good cup of hot cocoa. I prefer Dutch-process cocoa, if it's available where you shop. My favorite is Penzey's. If they don't have a store in your area, you can order it online. But, there are more common brands available at the grocery store that will do just fine. Amazon has a good organic Duth-process cocoa.
Did you know? Dutch-process cocoa is a darker, richer color and has less acidity than natural cocoa giving it a smoother, mellow taste.
Step-by-step photos for making Double-Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix:
Assemble the ingredients: cocoa, powdered milk, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, mini chocolate chips, and cayenne. (Don't let the cayenne scare you. Just add a pinch to the mix. It doesn't make it taste spicy--but it does enhance the cocoa flavor. Trust me and Alton Brown on this one.)
If you have a food processor, it makes the mixing easy and thorough. But you can also whisk everything together in a big bowl.
First add the powdered sugar and cocoa to the food processor. Pulse until mixed.
Add the cornstarch, salt, and pinch of cayenne. Pulse until mixed.
Add the powdered milk. Process for 20-30 seconds until well mixed. The food processor does a great job of pulverizing the dried milk and giving the cocoa mix a fine, consistent texture throughout.
Transfer the mix to a large bowl, add the chocolate chips, and stir.
With the tags I provide below and some ribbon, you've got a quick, homemade gift that is sure to please. Perfect for teachers, neighbors, and co-workers. This is also a great gift for college students--something I always made for our boys to have in their college dorms. Back in the day.
Downloadable tags. Here are 4 downloadable gift tags to choose from. They include instructions for using the cocoa mix. Just click on the image to print a sheet of the tag(s) of your choice. You can print them on sticker paper and stick them on the jar. Or, print them on paper or card stock and tape or tie them on.
1. Red & Green generic Christmas tag 2. Red & Green Christmas tag with place to write "To and From"
3. Blue generic winter tag 4. Blue winter tag with place to write "To and From"
These tags were printed on sticker paper. It's easy to cut them out and stick them right on the jar. That way the mixing instructions are attached and handy. Add a bow to pretty it up.
Or, print the tags on card stock, punch a whole in the corner and tie on a rubberband. These can easily be stretched around the jar rim where they can stay for easy reference. You can add a bow to these, too.
Kick the gift up a notch by including a fun mug.
Add a bottle of my peppermint liqueur (View Peppermint Liqueur Recipe) and some candy canes to a mug along with the cocoa mix for an extra fun gift. You could put a bag of marshmallows in the mug, instead of the liqueur.
Don't forget to save some of the mix so you can make a delicious, chocolaty mug of double chocolate hot cocoa for YOU!
TO MAKE ONE MUG OF HOT COCOA:
Fill 1/3 to 1/2 of mug with cocoa mix. Add hot water or milk and stir until mix is dissolved.
YUMMY VARIATIONS AND ADDITIONS:
Top with marshmallows or whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon, shaved chocolate, or crushed candy canes.
For a mocha drink, add a shot of espresso before the hot water or milk.
For spiced cocoa, add 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice to mug.
1 cup unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-process recommended)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Add sugar and cocoa to food processor. Pulse until well-mixed. (Or, combine ingredients in large bowl and whisk until well mixed.) Add salt, cornstarch, and cayenne; pulse until mixed. Add powdered milk; process for 20-30 seconds until well mixed. Transfer mix to bowl and stir in chocolate chips. Store in airtight container.
TO MAKE ONE MUG OF HOT COCOA: Fill 1/3 to 1/2 of mug with cocoa mix. Add hot water or milk and stir until mix is dissolved.
ADDITIONS TO TRY: --Top with marshmallows or whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon, shaved chocolate, or crushed candy canes. --For a mocha drink, add a shot of espresso before the hot water or milk. --For spiced cocoa, add 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice to mug. --Spike it with a tablespoon of peppermint liqueur or Kahlua. --Stir in and dissolve a caramel, chocolate square, or chocolate mint. --Add a cinnamon stick or candy cane for a stir stick.
Enter your email address below and I'll send new recipes from the Yummy Life directly to your inbox (about one per week). I'll also start you off with a free copy of my eBook: 21 amazing and healthy salad and dressing recipes.