Living in the cold North means we’re no strangers to a steaming cup of hot cocoa! Shoveling snow, tending the animals in frigid weather, chipping ice off the sidewalks… all deserves hot chocolate!
What do you call it– hot chocolate or hot cocoa? There’s probably a technical difference, but I use the terms interchangeably!
I love hot cocoa, but I don’t like most packaged mixes because they either have undesirable ingredients or they taste weird. Naturally, I make my own. By the way, a jar of this cocoa mix paired with some homemade marshmallows makes for a pretty fantastic gift!
Here’s what goes into my creamy, chocolaty homemade hot cocoa mix:
For hot chocolate, a regular unsweetened cocoa powder is best. We’re going to use a dark chocolate candy bar to add some deeper chocolate notes, so I prefer the lighter colored, natural cocoa powder here. As the star of the drink, it’s important to get good quality cocoa!
Make it Chocolatey-er
Using chopped dark chocolate or some mini chocolate chips adds richness and a more complex chocolate flavor to the mix. Any 70-85% chocolate bar will do (the higher the percentage, the darker your cocoa will taste). Alternatively, use 1 cup of mini semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (they must be mini or they won’t fully melt).
For a creamy and rich cup of hot chocolate, use a whole milk powdered milk. Nonfat powdered milk can be used, but the flavor and texture will be much better from the higher fat content in whole.
As a lover of real food, imagine my delight when I found a brand of dry milk that came from A2/A2 cows that were raised on pasture and fed organically! It doesn’t have added vitamins or oils, which I appreciate.
–> Buy organic, pasture-raised A2/A2 powdered milk here from Azure Standard.
(You can pick this up from the Azure Standard truck, or have it shipped and delivered right to your house.)
For hot chocolate, powdered sugar is my preferred choice because it dissolves easily.
Make it Ultra-Gourmet!
I love adding some vanilla bean powder to my hot cocoa mix! Of course this is optional, but I think it rounds out the hot cocoa and I love the sweet vanilla flavor it adds.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe
1 3-ounce bar 80-85% dark chocolate
2 to 2½ cups powdered sugar
2 cups powdered whole milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla powder (optional)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1. Use a sharp knife to cut the chocolate bar into fine shavings.
2. Place the chocolate bar shavings in a large bowl along with the powdered milk, powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and sea salt. Use 2 cups powdered sugar if you prefer it less sweet, and 2½ cups powdered sugar for a hot cocoa that is similar in sweetness to store-bought. Use a whisk to stir until well-combined.
3. Store in an air-tight container.
How to Make a Cup of Hot Chocolate
Put ¼ cup of hot cocoa mix into a mug and pour 1 cup of boiling water over top. Stir until dissolved and top with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!
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