by: Alison Hein
It’s so easy to make prepared hot cocoa – just stir a packet of mix into a mug of hot water and pop it into the microwave – you may wonder why I suggest you make your own.
Well, truth be told, it’s not too much harder than the method just described. Yes, you have to dirty a pot and make a few measurements, maybe wait 5 minutes longer for the final product. But trust me, the end result is more than worth this tiny bit of extra fuss.
This recipe mirrors the classic Hershey’s instructions printed on the side of the little brown box of hot cocoa mix. I’ve just added a little oomph by topping with whipped cream and cinnamon. Don’t stop here though. This recipe is merely the basic pattern for finding your very own hot cocoa mix, tailored just for you. Try using different types of chocolate – there is now a wide variety of cocoa offerings in every store. White cocoa is lovely, and you dark chocolate addicts can even shave a bit of your chocolate bar right into the milk before warming.
I like cinnamon, but nutmeg, mace or allspice add a little punch, or you can even try a sprinkling of sea salt or a tiny dash of cayenne pepper for some serious spice! Sweeten the cocoa with brown sugar, honey, or caramel sauce. On special days, pour in a finger of whiskey, brandy or Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Make a big pot of steaming hot cocoa for a large group (simply multiply the recipe times the number of people) or just treat yourself to a little something special. Homemade Hot Cocoa – so right for these fleeting autumn days, so right for breakfast in bed.
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons whipped cream
Dash of cinnamon
Pour milk into small, heavy saucepan. Whisk in cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla and salt. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thoroughly warmed. Pour into mug. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Makes 1 serving.