American Recipes: Hot Cocoa | Hot Chocolate
Is There Anything More Comforting Than The Perfect Hot Cocoa Recipe in the Winter?
Those of you who do not live in a climate that gets cold in the winter, are missing one of life's perfect joys, a cup of steaming hot cocoa in the icy cold weather.
The feeling of comfort and warmth from drinking a simple cup of steamy chocolate is something that truly must be experienced to understand.
Much of it stems from our linking warmth, chocolate, and food with our mothers as children, yet that doesn't take away the enjoyment. As adults, we can share our love for the perfect hot cocoa recipe with our families and friends. This lens explores some new hot cocoa recipes that might be a bit different from your mom's.
Cocoa ArtClick thumbnail to view full-size
Growing Up with Hot Cocoa
A soothing cup of comfort
When I was growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, my mother was a quasi-traditional mom. What I mean by that is that she was essentially a stay-at-home mom, but she was also a Ph.D. so she started taking me along to teach in a local college when I was a preschooler.
She had been brought up in a very traditional home, and so had my dad, so she did all of the cooking, and we did all of the eating.
Mom believed in comfort food, as many moms do. Every ethnic background, including full blooded American (if that really exists) has a list of basic comfort foods. In my house, hot cocoa was one of the biggest.
Back then, since my mom is not a gourmet cook, it was always Nestle's cocoa for us. And as kids, we did not miss anything better. There were no microwaves, so my mother heated the milk on the stove, then added it to the cup of Nestle's cocoa powder. Since it was filled with love, how could we not love it in return.
As an adult, I spent 8 years running a coffee house in Cleveland, where I learned there is more to a hot cocoa reicpe than adding Nestle's cocoa powder to milk. We made gourmet hot cocoa for our customers with half and half and dark Belgian chocolate, and topped it with freshly made whipped cream, and that's when I started upgrading the hot cocoa recipe for my own children.
I like to heat the milk on the stove at home, and mix it with actual chocolate instead of powder, but sometimes I will use the gourmet powders like Ghirardelli. It is something that my kids can make on their own. I do not, however, ever buy the cocoa powder that mixes with water anymore, because I just can't drink it.
I got spoiled.
So here's to motherhood, growing up, and comfort food. And to new traditions formed from the old ones. My mother will never be a gourmet cook, but she is a gourmet mom.
My Own Personal Hot Cocoa Recipe
This is how I make it from scratch
I prefer to heat my milk over the stove. I don't really trust the microwave.
I measure the milk in the size cups I will be using. I tend to use skim milk because that is what we have at home, but if I am feeling gourmet, then I use half and half.
My preferred chocolate is semi-sweet Belgian shaved chocolate. I add the chocolate to the cups, and when the milk is just about to boil, I pour it over the chocolate. Then I stir and it melts together.
I put enough chocolate in each cup to make the hot chocolate a deep brown color. Since I use different mugs each time, I can't really tell you the measurements. You will just have to experiment.
My favorite topping is mini marshmallows, but my children like whipped cream so I mix the whipping cream with some vanilla syrup, the beat it until whipped, and top each cup.
Mmmmmmm. . .I think I will get some right now.
Hot Cocoa Recipe
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
- 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- Hot water
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water.
- Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. This also works great with warm milk.
Recipe from the Food Network
Show: Good Eats
Episode: Art of Darkness II: Cocoa
Excellent Hot Cocoa Recipes for This Winter
When cold winds blow and snow piles up on the windowsills, there is nothing more comforting than a steaming mug of hot chocolate or a soothing cup of tea. And haven’t we all wished that we could make a coffee drink at home that rivals the brew from that expensive coffee shop on the corner? With the more than 50 recipes in Hot Drinks for Cold Nights, the perfect cup is always at your fingertips.
Hot Cocoa Recipe with Homemade Marshmallows
The best marshmallows are homemade
Hot Cocoa Ingredients
- 3/4 cup powdered milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- Homemade Marshmallows, recipe follows
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Take the bittersweet chocolate and roughly chop it up to give a chunky but consistent size.
- Mix well with a wooden spoon and then store in a dry airtight container.
- To make the hot chocolate, simply add 1 cup of water per 1/2 cup of hot cocoa mix.
- Heat in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat until hot, but do not boil, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Serve with marshmallows.
Homemade Marshmallows Ingredients:
- 3 tablespoons (3 packets) powdered gelatin*
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 egg whites**
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting pan and marshmallows
- Butter, for greasing pan
- In a medium sized saucepan soak the gelatin in the cold water. After the gelatin has softened, approximately 10 minutes, add the regular sugar and then gently dissolve over low heat, approximately 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks and then fold in the sifted confectioners' sugar. While the mixer is on low, slowly pour in the cooled gelatin mixture. Increase the speed and beat until white and thick. The volume should double in size and should form between soft and firm peaks.
- Line an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with high sides with foil, grease slightly with butter, and coat with confectioners' sugar. Alternatively, you can use a baking sheet, but the marshmallows will not be as tall. Pour marshmallow mixture in and top with more sifted confectioners' sugar. Leave out overnight or for at least 3 hours to set. The marshmallow should be light and spongy when set.
- Loosen marshmallow from edges of tray and invert onto a large cutting board. Peel off foil and use a large knife to cut the marshmallows into cubes. Dredge each piece in confectioners' sugar.
From Food Network
Show: Food Network Specials
Episode: All-Star Holiday Gifts
Simple Hot Cocoa Recipe
Chocolate and delicious
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 cups milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix cocoa, sugar, water and salt in a saucepan. Over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture boils. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Stir in the milk and heat, but do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla; blend well. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Creamy Hot Cocoa Recipe
Warm and toasty cocoa
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
- Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan.
- Blend in the boiling water.
- Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch.
- Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil!
- Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs.
- Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.
Spicy Mayan Hot Cocoa Recipe
Cocoa was used by the Aztec and Mayan as a sacred drink. Xocolatl or chocolatl was brewed with various spices and drank unsweetened as part of ceremonies. This recipe uses pure cocoa and several spices, including chili peppers. The flavor is very rich and aromatic, like a dark perfume. It's also unsweetened. Some may prefer it sweeter; just add more sugar. Makes four mugs of hot cocoa.
Heat 4 cups of milk in a double-boiler at medium-low. If you don't have a double boiler, then put a small pot inside a larger pot. If you don't have two pots, then stir it constantly.
While the milk is warming up, mix the following in a new bowl.
- ½ cup cocoa (use Peets, Scharffenberger, Valhrona, Starbucks, or similar.)
- 1 tsp unbleached flour
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 crushed cloves (put the cloves on your cutting board and crush them with the flat of your kitchen knife)
- ¼ tsp chili peppers (crushed, the same way as the cloves)
- 1 cinnamon stick (loosely crumbled)
To mix all this:
- Sift the cocoa powder and flour. Add a bit of milk and stir the cocoa/flour mix until it becomes a paste. Slowly add milk and continue to stir. It should turn into a paste. If you add milk too fast, you get clumpy cocoa. If that happens, use a hand blender to smoothen it. Finally, when all the cocoa and flour are a paste (no more dry flour,) add the remaining spices (sugar, nutmeg, cloves, peppers, and cinnamon.)
- Add the cocoa/flour/spices mix to the hot milk in the double-boiler. Stir constantly to keep it from burning. If you want it thicker, add some corn starch. Add as much corn starch as you like.
- When the cocoa is ready (it takes only fifteen minutes until it's nice and hot,) use a slotted spoon to scoop the cloves and cinnamon off the top and add:
- 2 tsp powered sugar. If you want it sweeter, add more powdered sugar.
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Serve in heavy mugs. If you like, you can put whipped cream on top, add small marshmallows, or add a stick of cinnamon (for stirring.)
- from andreas.com
Mollie Katzen's Hot Cocoa Recipe - from Honest Pretzels
- 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk (low fat works fine)
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you like extra, add extra)
- whipped cream (optional, recipe follows or you can buy some)
- cinnamon (optional)
- for whipped cream you need
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ***DO NOT TURN ON FIRE UNTIL IT SAYS SO***.
- Put 2 tablespoons chocolate chips plus 1/2 tsp sugar into a small saucepan.
- Pour the milk into a 2-cup measuring cup until it reaches the 1 1/2 cup line.
- Slowly pour the milk into the saucepan.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Put the pan on the stove and turn heat to medium.
- Stir slowly (important!) with a wooden spoon as the milk heats up. the chocolate chips will slowly begin to melt. (It takes about 5 minutes to reach the right temperature. keep stirring constantly and be patient, DO NOT LET IT BOIL!).
- It will be brown all the way through and the chips will be melted and milk hot when it is ready.
- When it's ready take the cocoa off the stove and slowly pour it into 1 or 2 mugs.
- Serve plain, or with a little whipped cream (recipe follows) or cinnamon on top.
- ***WHIPPED CREAM***.
- Get out large bowl and a whisk.
- Put the cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Beat strongly but not too fast with a whisk. It's best to take turns with someone, so your arms won't get tired.
- When it gets nice and puffy but is still soft, it's ready.
- It can keep in a covered container in the refrigerator, it keeps up to 2 days. but the sooner you use it, the better.
White Chocolate Hot Cocoa Recipe
- 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 14 ounces milk
- 2 ounces cream
- 3 pieces star anise
- Place the chopped chocolate and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
- In a saucepan heat together milk, cream and star anise until boiling.
- Pour over chocolate and whisk well to melt.
- Strain into mugs to remove star anise.
From the Food Network
Show: Sweet Dreams
Episode: Chocolate Madness
White Hot Cocoa Recipe
This recipe can be halved or quartered depending on how many people you're making this for. I wound up using 1/4 of the ingredients myself as I just made one cup. Make sure to use the same amount of vanilla extract though for any version of the recipe. Top with nutmeg or cocoa powder for decoration.
- 1 qt. milk
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 4 oz. best-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
- In a medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla over medium heat just until milk begins to steam, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Add white chocolate, and whisk until completely melted and combined.
- Divide among four mugs; serve immediately.
for the hoity toity
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 vanilla bean sliced in half lengthwise and scraped
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate finely sliced with a serrated bread knife
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) good quality cocoa powder, loosely packed
- Serve with whipped cream and chocolate curls
- In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the milk, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Add the chopped chocolate and the cocoa and bring to a boil again, whisking until the chocolate and cocoa are dissolved and the mixture has thickened. Reduce the heat to very low.
- Blend for 5 minutes with an immersion mixer or whirl the hot chocolate in a standard blender for half a minute, until thick and foamy.
Makes four 6-ounce cups of hot chocolate.
More Hot Cocoa Links
- 20 Top Hot Cocoa Recipes
Lots of fun variations on hot cocoa.
- Cocoa in Science
Healthy facts about cocoa.
- Stephen's Gourmet
- Rocky Mountain Cocoa in the news
A cocoa plant.
- Equal Exchange Cocoa
Equal Exchange is a fair trade company.
A cocoa bean company in Ghana. Very interesting facts about cocoa beans
- Lake Champlain Chocolates
Very good chocolate.
© 2008 Paula Atwell