Friday, January 25, 2013
Snow is on its way and the temps for the last several days have been hovering between the single digits to the 20's. Even though I love this weather, on days like this there's nothing like a cup of steaming hot cocoa especially if it's homemade.
Several years ago a friend of mine found the following recipe, courtesy of Alton Brown, on the Food Network website:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred ~ I use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water. Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. (I suggest starting with 2-3 heaping teaspoons and then go from there.) Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. Also works great with warm milk.
Unfortunately, powdered milk is expensive and 2 cups of powdered sugar is a lot of sugar. Instead of the powdered sugar and milk, I substitute 2 cups of powdered, non-dairy creamer like CoffeeMate thereby eliminating the powdered milk and sugar. Non-dairy creamers come in different flavors and at Christmas I found a peppermint flavored and it worked well. My personal favorite though is hazelnut. All the other ingredients listed above, their amounts, stay the same.
If the mixture is lumpy, sifting it makes it finer and easier to dissolve. I can also attest this cocoa does keep indefinitely in the pantry; although on cold winter days it won't last long.
While I realize lactose intolerance can be a problem, making it with milk makes it creamier and richer.