Homemade hot cocoa and sipping chocolate recipes

Whip up a steaming cup of chocolate goodness



Whether you and the kids have spent hours on the ski slopes, in the backyard building a snowman or at the skating pond, a mug of cocoa or hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up. 

Make this the winter you skip the powder in the envelopes and instead try the delights of real chocolate and real milk. It’s definitely worth the extra trouble. You can make up a batch of Super Chocolatey Hot Cocoa Mix in advance and use it for the rest of the winter. (OK, maybe it will last through the February vacation. You can make another batch for March.)  

Super Chocolatey Hot Cocoa

Super Chocolatey Hot Cocoa Mix (recipes follows)
Milk
Pure vanilla extract
Marshmallows or whipped cream (optional)

For each mug of cocoa, heat 8 ounces of milk over medium-low heat. As the milk warms, whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of Super Chocolatey Hot Cocoa Mix and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla per mug. Continue whisking and heat until the cocoa is steaming. Do not let the milk boil.

Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows or whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Mom and Dad – if you feel the need for an extra pick-me-up, try a barbagliata. This Italian treat adds a shot of expresso or strong coffee to a mug of delicious hot cocoa. You’ll probably want to skip the marshmallows, but don’t forget the whipped cream.

Super Chocolatey Hot Cocoa Mix

Enough mix for 8 to 12 (8-ounce) mugs

1 c. cocoa powder
1 c. mini chocolate chips
1 c. or to taste sugar
1 tsp. salt

Put cocoa, chocolate chips, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer to an airtight container.

Holiday hint – Remember this recipe during the month of December. Not only will you want to make a batch to see you through the holidays, but Super Chocolatey Hot Cocoa Mix makes a great gift. Make up a huge batch, fill a bunch of Mason jars and tie each with a pretty red bow. Homemade cocoa mix is a great gift for your kids’ teachers as well as your office gift swap.

Variations:  

Sugar & Spice Hot Cocoa: add 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. cloves and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg to your Cocoa Mix
Mexican Hot Cocoa: add 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2-1 tsp. cayenne pepper to your Cocoa Mix
Peppermint Stick Hot Cocoa: add 1/2 c. crushed candy canes or peppermint candies to your Cocoa Mix


Sipping Chocolate  

Makes 4 small servings

1 strip orange peel
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. half-and-half
4 oz. chopped chocolate – white, milk or dark
1 tsp. honey (if using dark chocolate)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Use a vegetable peeler to cut a strip of peel from an orange about 2-3 inches long. Use a very sharp peeler to ensure you only get the orange part of the peel. The white pith is bitter.

Put the orange peel, milk and half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until just below the simmering point. Remove pan from heat and add the chocolate. Let the warm milk and cream sit for about 10 minutes to steep the orange and melt the chocolate.

Remove the orange peel and whisk to combine. Reheat to steaming and whisk in vanilla. Pour into espresso cups and serve.

Mom and Dad – after the kids are tucked in bed on Valentine’s night or any time a special, chocolaty treat is warranted, add a tablespoon or two of Grand Marnier or cognac to each cup and enjoy.

Susan Nye writes for magazines throughout New England. She shares many of her favorite recipes and stories about food, family and friendship on her award winning blog, Around the Table, at www.susannye.wordpress.com

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