Hot chocolate is such a wintery, Christmasy treat, although I drink coffee and hot tea year round. Black coffee in the morning, followed by a cup (or two) of hot unsweetened tea in the afternoon at work, then again at night in the winter, although not so much on warm summer evenings. My teeth would be a little whiter if not for this habit, but I can't seem to cut coffee and tea out of my life completely.
But hot chocolate... it's a little more special because I drink it on far fewer occasions.
Hot chocolate is a drink I generally save only for wintery weekends. When I sip hot chocolate, I find myself craving popcorn, too. I think it's the sweet and salty combination that just sounds so good. Snacks of popcorn, apple slices, cheddar cheese and hot chocolate often made an appearance on family game nights when I was a kid.
As I get older (and wiser, I hope), super sugary snacks have lost their appeal and the packets of hot chocolate mix are simply too sweet, not to mention full of unnecessary and sometimes artificial ingredients and chemicals, so I usually just make homemade hot chocolate as the mood strikes, and sweeten it to taste.
And I'm not sure why I didn't think of it before, but it lately occurred to me that I could make my own powdered mix that's ready to be stirred into hot water or milk, without having to measure out the proportions of cocoa, sugar and vanilla every time I want a cup of chocolatey goodness.
Cocoa powder, powdered milk and sugar are all a given in a hot chocolate mix, but I also added one of my favorite ingredients to pair with chocolate, espresso powder, as well as a pinch of salt and freshly grated nutmeg. And last, but not least, I placed a dried vanilla bean (the seeds of which I had already used) into the container to infuse its vanilla essence into the mix.
It was so much better than any store-bought mix, and the proportions of the ingredients can all be adjusted to suit your taste. How about a pinch of cayenne pepper to add a little spicy heat to the chocolate?
One Year Ago: Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
Hot Chocolate Mix
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups powdered milk
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 vanilla bean (scrape the seeds out and use for another recipe)
In your food processor (or using a sifter) combine everything except the vanilla bean; using the food processor or a sifter will break up the lumps in the powdered milk and sugar for a fine powder that mixes well with liquid.
Place the vanilla bean pod in an airtight container and scoop the powdered mix on top; the vanilla bean will infuse the mix with vanilla flavor as it's stored.
For one cup of hot chocolate, place 2-3 spoonfuls of mix in a mug and add very hot water or milk. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.
Yields 5 - 5 1/2 cups of dry mix, or about 20-25 servings
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen