14 December 2010
Sometimes a cup of hot cocoa is just the thing. A treat alongside a cookie, a cup shared with a friend, something to wrap cold hands around and be warmed inside and out. It has been so cold here and very snowy and I've been indulging in hot chocolate often.
As a child, during winter vacations I would spend hours ice skating on a nearby pond and drinking Swiss Miss by the thermos-ful. Now I like something just a little more grown up: more chocolatey, less sweet, with enough cinnamon to add flavor and a hint of cayenne for extra warmth and spice.
I made several batches of my hot cocoa mix to fill pint sized mason jars. I think they'll make great gifts for a holiday season that is all about warmth, light and joy in the middle of a cold dark time of year. If I can't sit down to a cup of hot chocolate with a friend, I can at least send my warm wishes and the ingredients to make one. Although I am keeping things simple this year, I think a unique, handmade mug with a jar of homemade hot cocoa mix would make a wonderful gift.
I'm including the recipe that I use for just one cup, as well as the recipe for a whole jar. I have only tried this recipe with cow's milk, but I am sure that it would be just as good with whatever kind of milk you prefer. I used Equal Exchange Organic and Fair Trade Cocoa Powder which has great flavor and comes from farmer cooperatives. You can use whatever kind you like. If you want pure chocolate with nothing else in the way, omit the spices.
One Cup Mix:
4 teaspoons (7 grams) cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) granulated cane sugar
A sprinkle of cinnamon
A small pinch of cayenne powder
Mix all the ingredients together and place in a mug. Add 8 ounces (One cup) of hot milk. Stir to blend. Serve with whipped cream or homemade marshmallows. Enjoy!
Pint Jar Mix:
1 1/4 cups (90 grams) cocoa powder
1/2 cup (108 grams) granulated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
A sprinkle of cayenne powder
Place all ingredients in a pint jar. They won't fill the jar all the way to the top. Cover and shake to combine the ingredients. To serve, add one heaping tablespoon of the mix to 8 ounces of hot milk. Serve with whipped cream or homemade marshmallows.