Easy Instant Hot Cocoa Mix
The Invention of Instant Hot Cocoa Made Life Easier for Chocolate Lovers
Just the words "Hot Cocoa" bring up visions of comfort, warmth, indulgence, and home to the minds of most people. The creamy richness of a cup of hot chocolate is utter indulgence. This was the drink of royals, merchants and aristocrats. Made from a bean once so valued it was used as currency.
The first "instant cocoa" of sorts was developed way back in 1828 when chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten of the Netherlands took out a patent on a device which used alkali to separate the cocoa fat from the cocao seeds, leaving a purer cocoa powder behind. This powder, it was found, was easier to stir into water and milk. Combined with sugar to sweeten and a hot liquid such as water or milk, it made the hot cocoa we enjoy today.
Hot chocolate, once a drink reserved only for the rich and noble of Europe was now available to the general public.It has come a long ways from the bitter chocolate once drunk by the Aztecs.
Raimundo Madrazo - Hot Chocolate
A Matter of Definitions
In America hot chocolate and hot cocoa are used interchangeably to describe this delicious hot beverage, but there is a difference.
Hot cocoa refers to a drink made from cocoa powder.
Hot chocolate refers to a drink made from mixing shaved, ground or other forms of actual chocolate with water or milk, plus a sweetener.
Instant Hot Cocoa is made using cocoa powder to which powdered milk or other dairy ingredients have been added. When mixed with hot water, you have hot cocoa. Thickeners and stabilizers are added to keep the cocoa from separating from the hot water and it generally comes in single serving packets.
For the Love of Chocolate
Instant was born
One has only to look at the steps needed to make a steaming cup of hot chocolate to see why instant hot cocoa mixes become so popular.
- Heat the milk in a pan.
- Add chocolate and stir.
- And stir
- And stir until the chocolate is all melted and the milk is hot. But don't boil the milk!. You really don't want to boil milk, that makes it taste bad. It wants to be hot without coming to a full boil.
- Pour into a mug, add marshmallows, cream, etc
- Finally, you get to drink it.
Compare that to a packet of instant hot cocoa mix.
- Boil the kettle
- Dump the contents of the instant hot cocoa mix into a mug
- Pour in the boiling water.
- Add marshmallows, cream, a splash of milk, other toppings
It's all so easy and convenient. What I don't like about instant hot cocoa mixes though is the amount of stabilisers, preservatives, and sweeteners that are being added to the mix. Surely there must be a way to enjoy the convenience of instant hot cocoa, without the hassles of added artificial ingredients.
What do you think?
- Prep time: 5 min
- Cook time: 2 min
- Ready in: 7 min
- Yields: Makes about 6 cups mix (18 servings)
Easy Instant Hot Cocoa Mix
- 3 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
- 2 cups powdered (icing) sugar, sifted (adjust for taste/sweetness)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
NanLT recommends - Fairtrade
- In a mixing bowl combine dry milk powder, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. Store in an airtight container
- For each serving place 1/3 cup of the mix in a mug and about 3/4 cup boiling water.
A Good Hot Chocolate Needs a Good Mug
If you know a chocolate lover, you could make them a jar of instant hot cocoa and present it as a gift along with an appropriate hot cocoa mug.
Chocolate - it's cheaper than therapy