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Ditch the store-bought and make your own hot cocoa mix to keep in your pantry. It’s also perfect for gifting as a homemade holiday gift.
Hard to believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and that Christmas is just 4 short weeks away from that!
It’s tough when Thanksgiving is late, because then I feel like we rush to get a tree up, listen to our Christmas music at warp speed, and then it’s dreary January before we know it.
I’m determined, though, to make 2019’s short Thanksgiving/Christmas spread a great one and thankfully I’ve had hot cocoa in my Christmas mug for a few weeks now, despite my darling husband’s refusal to let me listen to any music until Black Friday!
That’s ok, I still love him, because he helps me take pictures and I’m grateful that despite his profession (personal trainer/gym owner), he still has some nice hands!
In all seriousness, I am pretty pumped to be bringing this homemade hot cocoa mix to you, because I am all about the homemade gifts this year.
When our family/families started having kids, we stopped buying gifts for the adults and just focused on gifts for the kids. Because we usually don’t host any Christmas gatherings (except this year, we agreed to host Christmas day!), I always like to bring something for the host/hostess as a thank you for having us.
In the past, I have taken homemade vanilla extract as well as homemade caramel sauce, and this year, I think I might add some homemade hot cocoa mix to the lineup. I love bringing these kinds of gifts to hosts/hostesses because they’re a nice gesture and they don’t always have to be used right away.
In fact, my homemade vanilla extract has been steeping the same beans since I photographed and published that tutorial in 2014. Check that one out, for sure!
Another reason I wanted to make homemade hot cocoa this year is because we now have 2 toddlers (one was featured in a video I published earlier this week making eggnog quick bread), and playing outside in the snow is something that is 100% on our radar.
I remember last year when then 2.5yo big bro came inside from playing in the snow and Matt and I both agreed we could have all used some hot cocoa at that very moment. I quickly Googled “homemade hot cocoa mix” and was met with Alton Brown’s recipe.
I was a bit bummed to find that I needed dry milk powder, which of course I didn’t have on hand, so we forewent that and just used sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. And it was less than stellar.
From that day on, I vowed to get some milk powder and throw this less complicated recipe (seriously, he’s got so much going on in his original one) up here on the blog for snowy days, cozy evenings, and homemade holiday gifts alike.
So here’s the thing– this is mega simple. You only need 4 ingredients, and you’ll have enough to make 6 servings of hot cocoa.
Of course, scale it up if you’re looking to gift it away, have more folks in your home who may want some hot cocoa, or just think you’d be better served with a boatload of homemade hot cocoa mix in your pantry vs a smaller amount.
On the ingredient list is:
•dry milk powder
•Dutch processed cocoa powder (or regular unsweetened)
When it comes time to make up a cup, you’ll need 1 Tablespoon of mix for every 2 ounces of liquid. Liquid can be water or milk, completely your choice.
Pro tip: back when I still worked in the lab, I would sometimes use half a hot cocoa mix packet with a cup of coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up/treat. It was most excellent.
That said, you could also use coffee.
Just don’t leave out those marshmallows… Mmmmkay?
Hot cocoa without marshmallows is so sad!
The thing I love most about this homemade hot cocoa mix is that it’s not too sweet. It’s the perfect balance of chocolate and sweetness, and if you’re feeling like it could be more chocolatey, add some chocolate syrup or use some sweetened almond milk.
Cater your mix to your needs. and make it your best cup of cocoa ever.
Just oneeee major point here: you’ve got to sift those ingredients. Cocoa tends to be very chunky, and tossing it into powdered sugar (which can also tend to clump up) is just going to make matters worse.
Sift sift sift!
You’ll only have to do this once, and all should be well and good inside the container you’re keeping your mix in.
Keep for yourself, gift out, make for neighbors who are shoveling your driveway… Anything goes in homemade hot cocoa land.
Just seriously, don’t forget those mallows!
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
- 1 and 1/4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder unsweetened cocoa powder is fine
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, sift together all of the ingredients. Sifting is imperative as mix will remain lumpy if you just stir it.
- Stir sifted ingredients to insure everything is dispersed evenly. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 1 year.
- To use: combine 1 Tablespoon of hot cocoa mix for every 2 ounces of liquid (use water or milk). Serving size is for 8 ounces of hot cocoa (4 Tablespoons of mix and 8 ounces of hot water). For decadent hot cocoa, use 1 Tablespoon mix for every 1 ounce of liquid.