Some Like It Hot: 3 Cocoa Recipes for Chocolate Lovers

Some Like It Hot: 3 Cocoa Recipes for Chocolate Lovers
Hot chocolate is a perennial cold-weather favorite here in the US and many other countries, but it has its origins with the Maya of millennia past, who drank it spicy, bitter, and... cold. We have the Europeans to thank for sweetening the deal, and every culture and age since has added its own twist to this beverage that was originally intended to cure cough and gastric distress.
Hot chocolate cover 2
This collection of three cocoa recipes ranges from a classic kid-friendly cocoa mix to a more indulgent, night-in cocoa to a this-is-drinkable-dessert cocoa in the traditional Venetian style. Each comes with suggestions for cookie pairings and grown-up add-ins to sweeten the cocoa pot.

Easy Hot Cocoa Mix

Quick to make and a great idea to keep on hand, this delicious cocoa mix will keep everyone happy. Toss in a handful of mini marshmallows if you like a little joy with your cocoa.
Makes about 10 servings

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Fill a mug half-full with the mixture and top off with very hot (not boiling) water or milk. Stir well and enjoy.
Adults-only add-in: 2 ounces Grand Marnier or Bailey’s Irish Cream
Pair with: Chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, doughnuts

drink your chocolate guide

Decadent Hot Chocolate

Luscious dark hot chocolate for special occasions -- like chilly days or Wednesdays.
Serves 2

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 split vanilla bean
  • 5 ounces best quality dark milk chocolate, chopped small
  • Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)

Combine milk, half-and-half, and scraped vanilla bean in medium saucepan; bring just to the scalding point, stirring occasionally. Let steep 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and return milk-and-cream mixture to the scalding point. Turn off heat, add chocolate, and let stand 5 minutes, till melted. Whisk until chocolate is incorporated and milk mixture froths.
Divide hot chocolate between two mugs and top with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired.
Adults-only add-in: 2 ounces Kahlua coffee liqueur plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pair with: Butter cookies, biscotti


Guilty Pleasure Hot Chocolate

You may want a spoon for this; it’s hot chocolate silk in a mug. Just try keeping your eyes open as you sip this swoon-worthy nectar of the gods.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) bar good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring just to the scalding point. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute. Return the pot to the heat, stir in the cornstarch mixture, and let simmer on low for 3 to 5 minutes, whisking the whole time. When cocoa is thick and steaming, remove from heat, whisk in vanilla extract, and serve.
Adults-only add-in: 2 ounces Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
Pair with: Madeleines or shortbread cookies

All photos are courtesy of the author.

A Guest Writer

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