This lesson is 515 words, a 2 min 3 second reading time. It is part of the ❄️ Winter Collection ❄️.
Hot cocoa is sweet, warm, and chocolaty, making it a lovely treat after a meal. Easy and fast, this dessert beverage is also economical and endlessly variable. While the base recipe requires only a few ingredients, you can get creative with your add-ins, flavorings & toppings.
For a thicker, creamier version, we add chocolate - which yields… Hot Chocolate! What a trick.
⚙️ Unique Gear:
Makes 1 serving
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
1 cup (8 oz) milk
Pinch of salt (optional)
Semisweet/Dark Chocolate (optional)
Toppings & Additions (optional)
📓 Hot Cocoa & Chocolate Reference Guide
Sweetener: sugar (white, brown, crystals), honey, maple syrup, artificial
Milk: whole, 2%, half & half, coconut, nut (e.g., cashew, almond), oat
Chocolate: dark, semisweet, milk, white
Toppings: marshmallow, shaved chocolate, cocoa powder, melted caramel, toasted coconut, whipped cream
Additions: extracts (e.g., vanilla, peppermint), spices (e.g., cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, chili powder), coffee (e.g., drip, instant), salt (e.g., kosher, sea, fleur de sel)
Liquor: kahlua, irish cream, chocolate/raspberry liquer, peppermint schnapps, bailey’s, bourbon
Hot Cocoa: 5-10 min
Heat milk in a saucepan over medium. *Do not boil*
Blend cocoa powder & sugar/sweetener. Add a dash of milk or water. Blend into a thick paste.
When milk is hot (~165-185°F), remove from heat.
Whisk paste & milk together (in mug or saucepan).
Add toppings/flavorings, taste, adjust & serve.
Hot Chocolate: 10 min
Make hot cocoa in a saucepan (see above).
Separately, chop up chocolate. Add to cocoa & remove from heat.
Whisk until melted, dark & velvety. A bit longer for extra thick.
Add toppings/flavors, taste, adjust & serve.
📝 Notes, Tips & Tricks:
There are two main types of Cocoa Powder: Dutch (e.g., Droste), which offers a neutral flavor, and Natural (more acidic & more robust flavor). Both work well for hot cocoa.
The ratios of cocoa and sweetener to milk are highly customizable. For a more intense flavor, reduce sweetener & increase cocoa. For a sweeter beverage, do the inverse.
Milk is an emulsion of butterfat, proteins, and water. When boiled, those components break apart. The milk coagulates and separates from the water, creating curdled milk. Curdled milk is lumpy and can ruin the texture of hot cocoa.
Milk boils at 203°F. Pull the milk long before it reaches that point (e.g., 160-185°F)
To make chocolate milk, chill the hot cocoa/chocolate.
To reheat, microwave (& check) in 30-second increments.
Premium bittersweet or dark chocolate adds next-level complex flavor.
For traditional hot cocoa, leave out the chocolate.
For Parisian-style hot chocolate (aka Chocolat Chaud), reduce milk and increase the chocolate (about 1.25 oz of chocolate, ½ cup milk, cocoa optional). To thicken, simmer for a few minutes after the chocolate has melted.
Store-bought mix/powder is convenient but often overly sweet & watery. Additionally, it contains additives & preservatives. (Here are the Swiss Miss ingredients.)
🎓 Further Study
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