It’s finally cold. Snow is still on the ground and the winds are blowing the skin temperature lower. Perfect time for a warming drink like a cup of hot cocoa!
The first recipe I found was pretty basic and had none of the rich texture one gets from buying hot cocoa mix in fancy containers. After some research, I found this recipe from Alton Brown that includes a secret ingredient that makes all of the difference: cayenne pepper flakes.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Ingredients (for 5 cups of dry mix)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred); Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate is another option.
- 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)
- Add baking chips like butterscotch or mint to the top (optional)
- You can add other things like toffee bits, candy cane crumbs, or candy baking chips to the mix as well as spices like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Simply whisk the ingredients together.
To serve, start with two tablespoons per eight ounces of hot water. Mix a couple ounces of hot water in mix first, then add hot water to taste. To mix well, I will measure the mix and water in a blender and blend for 30 seconds or so.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Gift Idea
You can give it as a gift all on its own or pair it with other yummy treats; arrange it in a gift basket with a mug and sweet treats.
A canning jar is perfect for packaging edible gifts like hot cocoa mix, although my preference is interesting glass jars with tight lids. Use a colorful ribbon and a gift tag with instructions.
Although I tend to see this recipe at Christmas, it’s also a nice gift idea for Valentine’s Day and for any fall and winter birthdays.
Charlotte Ekker Wiggins is a gardener, beekeeper, and sometimes cook. For more, visit gardeningcharlotte.com. Published by Kaleidoscope Weekly with permission. Copyright 2018, all rights reserved. This column may not be copied, published, reprinted, rewritten, or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at ateaspoon.com