Homemade Hot Chocolate - It's Easy!
Hot chocolate is the perfect drink for a cold winter afternoon or evening. It feels more special than coffee or tea, and can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Sure, you can use the powder and make it quick and easy in your microwave, but some occasions call for going to a bit more trouble. This is the recipe I use. It’s adapted from what is on the cocoa package, however I like mine a bit richer. Recipe is to make four 8 ounce cups, but it is easily adjusted to make more or less.
- 4 teaspoons bittersweet cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 4 cups of milk
- Add-ins as desired (will discuss below)
First, mix salt, sugars and cocoa powder together in a small bowl. Doing this will help the cocoa not clump together when added to the milk. Next, in a small saucepan on low to medium heat, get milk and vanilla warming. Once milk has begun feeling “warm” add cocoa mixture. With a wisk start mixing briskly. Ideally you will be able to incorporate all of the sugar and cocoa as the milk gets warmer. When everything starts looking well blended turn the heat up and cook cocoa until ALMOST boiling, but do not boil. Add your extras if any are desired and serve!
This is will be a treat for anyone who has the opportunity to enjoy it, as it is just a completely different experience from the powdered stuff.
As far as optional ingredients, marshmallows and whipped cream always come to mind. I prefer whipped cream. If you want a peppermint hot chocolate you could either substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla extract, or for a more subtle flavor just add a candy cane. For an ultra rich cocoa experience you can add chocolate chips or chunks to the cocoa as it is warming, they will partially melt and give it an even richer flavor. You can give your cocoa a mocha flavor by adding 2 teaspoons of instant coffee to the sugar mixture, the crystals will dissolve in the hot milk and give you a caffeine boost while you enjoy your beverage. And finally, for the adults there are several liquors that are tasty additions. I like Bailey’s Irish Cream, but Kahlua, Peppermint Schnapps, Butterscotch Schnapps, and Amaretto also make good additions. Just add at the last second in whatever amount makes you happy.