Recently I found a commercial hot cocoa mix that included finely chopped chocolate. I’ve had plenty of “normal” hot cocoa mixes, as well as the delight that is chopped chocolate melted into hot milk, but I hadn’t had a hybrid variety. I absolutely love it. It has the richness of chocolate with the smooth texture of cocoa. The product I started with was ridiculously expensive, though, so I set out to make my own mix.
Infinitely Scalable Version
- 1 part unsweetened cocoa powder
- a generous 1 part sugar
- 1 part good-quality milk powder
- 2 parts finely-chopped semisweet chocolate
Mix well. Add by tablespoons to scalding-hot milk or boiling water until it reaches your preferred richness level. Stir well until chocolate is melted.
Specific Version (makes 2.5 cups)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- heaping 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup good-quality milk powder
- 1 cup finely-chopped semisweet chocolate, approximately 5 oz
Add approximately 3 T to 8 oz of scalding milk or boiling water (milk will result in a richer cocoa); stir well until chocolate is melted.
Milk Powder: I use milk powder not because I like to be able to make my cocoa with water (I always use milk) but because I like a little extra richness. If you don’t want to use milk powder, you could add a little cream or half-and-half to the milk instead. Using milk powder does give you the option of using water, however, should you choose. I found a dry milk powder at Whole Foods that didn’t taste at all chalky and produced a nice, smooth result.
Chocolates: I experimented with different chocolates and found semisweet worked best for me, but you might try a deep milk or a sweet dark. Mostly I suggest not using something that’s too bitter, since any tiny bits that don’t quite melt will contrast rather severely with the sweet cocoa. While using mini-chips removes the need to chop chocolate, which can be messy, I recommend going to the effort of chopping bar chocolate instead. Chips are designed NOT to melt during baking, which means they also don’t melt as well in hot milk and they require much more stirring.
Variation: I like to take portions of the mix and put them in different containers with extra flavoring: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, miniature marshmallows (not those dried hard things!) or whatever sounds good. For a vanilla flavoring you might use vanilla sugar in the recipe.
Enjoy, and please share some of your own cocoa/hot chocolate thoughts & ideas!