Welcome to the second installment of my new little series called You Can Make That!? As I explained in my last post on how to make your own nut butter, this series demystifies commonly purchased food stuffs which many of us assume can only be bought in a package. It is my hope that you can make many of your favorite food staples at home, for much cheaper than storebought, and in much better quality! (i.e. without all the gunky, overly-refined, faux-food additions that usually end up in our bellies)
Jordan and I started making our own cocoa mix after we'd gone through a huge tub of hot cocoa mix my mom had bought for us. She knew how much Jordan loved cocoa, and in her thoughtfulness and love for us, she bought a Costco tub of Carnation cocoa. It was too sweet for my taste, dark chocolate lover that I am, but Jordan loved it and drank a cup of cocoa nearly every other night. One night, however, we turned the tub over in curiosity, to look at the ingredients. Reading that list was almost enough to make Jordan stop drinking cocoa entirely. So I figured out how to make our own.
We discovered that hot cocoa mixes use poor-quality chocolate, which has often been burned in the processing... process (!). So, more sugar than necessary is put in to compensate for the potentially bitter taste of said burnt chocolate. And, because it's assumed that hot cocoa mixes will be mixed into hot water, lots of weird hydrogenated things are added to make the cocoa taste more creamy.
Here is our little recipe for hot cocoa mix that we've come to love. I recently served a cup to a friend and he said, "Tora, that was the best cocoa I've ever had." He didn't know it was homemade mix. But yes, it is that good.
Hot Cocoa Mix
one glass jar with tight fitting lid
(really. that's all you need.)
In your jar, mix equal parts of the following three ingredients:
* unsweetened cocoa powder (Fry's, Nestle, whatever)
* sugar (white granulated)
* dry milk powder (you can buy it in the baking supplies section)
Add a dash of any of the following to suit your taste:
* ground cinnamon
* cayenne pepper
* instant OR finely ground espresso powder
Shake it up! Tightly screw on the lid and store in your cupboard, which hopefully is dry and cool.
When you're ready to make a cup of cocoa, do what Jordan and I do. Or don't. Come up with your own way to do it. (That is, after all, what this series is all about. Doing it your own way.)
We fill our cocoa mugs with milk, and microwave them for a few minutes, until the milk is steamy. I scoop in a few (2-3, depending on the size of the mug and how strong you like your cocoa) heaping tablespoons of cocoa mix, and stir. Make sure to rub out any clumps of cocoa against the side of your mug with the back of the spoon. Unless you like clumpy cocoa. Jordan usually adds a little extra dash of sugar, which makes me cringe. Add marshmallows, preferably homemade ones... or ones from Butter Bakery on Dunbar Street. (Yes, you can make those too! But that's for another post.)