Homemade Instant Hot Cocoa Mix
Before we get to todays recipe and my witty ramblings, I want to point out the handy dandy little icon on the top right of this page. YES! The rumors are true! Brittany’s Pantry has joined INSTAGRAM!!! Do you know what this means, faithful readers? It means that you now have photographic visual aids to keep up to date with my kitchen, my cooking, my failures, and yes, my pantry! So click on the link to join me and while you are at it, check out Brittany’s Pantry on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter!
So. Between the church cancelations, school closings, impassable roads, and dangerous cold here in central IL, it is safe to say that we are kind of stuck in the house for a bit. I’ve made soup, roasts, stews, baked desserts, and I am finally breaking free from the comfort food coma and heading in a lighter direction tonight; Roasted Fish with veggies and Baked Garlic Brown Rice. I am still using the oven to give that warm, cozy feeling to the main floor of the house, but with something a little healthier than a baked/chicken/pasta/cheese/cream/bread crumb/butter type of casserole. But this meal is no less comforting. The rice is going to make the house smell deeeee-VINE ( a kind of…pre-requisite for food made during a winter storm) and the rest will be hot and tasty. *sigh* I can’t wait for dinner.
Between meals that could sustain olympic swimmers with their sky-high calorie count, you need to sip something just as warming to your soul. For me, that will always be hot chocolate. If you are a long time reader of this blog you know my obsessions with hot chocolate. I have no less than three different recipes for it in archives here and I am always looking for different versions. No matter what kind I make, it is always from scratch. I am a bit of a snob when it comes to hot chocolate and I haven’t bought anything in a packet in years. Why would you when you can make it sooooo much better yourself?
That said, I am the mother of three and sometimes, I just need the convenience of the already mixed up instant stuff. Luckily, my Mom is the mother of six and wouldn’t ya know-she used to make her own! This is not a revolutionary idea, but strangely, I don’t know many people who do this. The monetary savings are enormous, but that aside, it just tastes better! And the fact that I know exactly what is in it gives me that same warm fuzzy feeling that drinking it does. Sometimes I make different versions of this that contain actual grated chocolate instead of cocoa powder, but my master version does not. The cocoa powder adds incredible chocolate flavor while allowing you to control the level of sweetness. Is it the best hot chocolate in the world? No. But it is cheap, easy, super fast, adaptable, and last a long time. That is a major success in my book and definitely earns it a spot here to be shared with all of you. I have made a ridiculous number of versions of this over the years and the main goal has always been to create a mix that doesn’t actually taste like a mix. It should be rich. It should be chocolatey. It should make you go ‘Mmmmmmmmmmm’ (like Will Farell does in elf when he adds the booze to his coffee thinking it is maple syrup) instead of ‘Mmmm-Hey! I can taste the preservatives and high fructose corn syrup in here. Can you?’
Because that is most defiantly NOT comforting.
So when it comes to a hardy, non-perishable mix, this is what I use. When I was a kid, my Mom used to make this in huge double batches (6 kids, remember?) and store it in an empty gallon ice cream pail. Come to think of it, we stored a LOT of stuff in ice cream pails. They seal tight on the top and they have a handle. What could be better? Snack mix, cookies-all kinds of things. Either way, my batches aren’t doubles, but we do store ours in an gallon ice cream bucket too. It tastes even more nostalgic that way. In the picture above, the last of the mix-we had been using it quite a bit before the weather cooperated enough for me to photograph it-in a quart tupperware container. A gallon plastic bag works great as well, for mixing and for storing. Obviously this would be fantastic gifted to friends and family around the holidays, but when the weather turns ugly, it is a handy thing to have tucked in your pantry.
And that is very comforting. One Year Ago: My Go-To Sloppy Joes
Two Years Ago: Forgotten Kisses (Peppermint Meringue Cookies)
Three Years Ago: Honey Waffles & Filet Au Poivre & Fettuccine W/Spinach Alfredo & Shrimp Quesadillas
Homemade Instant Hot Cocoa Mix
This is OK made with hot water, but it is MUCH better made with milk. Use whole milk if you are being particularly indulgent, but I have made it with skim and it is still lovely and creamy. A heaping spoonful added to cup of coffee gives you a nearly perfect mocha. Feel free to add Tablespoon or so of cinnamon to the batch to make a spiced hot chocolate mix.
2 c powdered sugar
1 c cocoa powder (dark is fine)
2 c powdered milk
1 c powdered non-dairy creamer
heavy pinch of salt
Combine ingredients well and store in an airtight container. When ready to use, fill whatever size mug you are using about half full of mix and fill the mug with hot water or hot milk.