312: Hot Cocoa Mix

I like making my own hot cocoa mix. I haven’t done the math on it, but I generally assume that it’s less expensive to make my own, given the quantities of it I drink during the year. I also like that I can control what goes into it if I make the mix myself. I have one box of flavored cocoa mix here, and the first two ingredients on it are sugar and corn syrup solids. While I don’t always mind having sugar, I’d rather not have corn syrup solids, which are primarily used to mimic the mouthfeel of milk or cream. They’re really just more sugars anyway, and I’d rather have the fat that might accompany powdered milk. Corn syrup solids are also a primary ingredient in non-dairy creamer, which I don’t particularly like the taste of. And honestly, at least milk has a little nutritional value.

I’ve had trouble finding hot cocoa mix recipes that I want to make because so many of them call for non-dairy creamer to make sure that they’re creamy. I do have one recipe that I make (a hot cocoa mix recipe by Alton Brown), and I like it a lot, but I would like to and am willing to try other recipes in case there’s a better one out there somewhere.

I got an email from Johnson and Johnson that had a recipe for Hot Cocoa Mix in it. The idea was that you make the mix and give it as a gift. Gifting food is something that I would love to do in the future, but this recipe was exciting because it called for non-fat powdered milk. This is only the second hot cocoa mix recipe I’ve ever found that uses only powdered milk!

I decided I had to try it. The recipe made four servings, so I halved it so that Alex and I could each have a cup, with no leftovers. The recipe also said that you would boil water on the stove and add the mix to the pan. Quite honestly, the appeal of hot cocoa mix for me is that you don’t mess up a pan; rather, you add hot water to your mug of mix. If I’m going to mix something on the stove, I might as well make hot cocoa with real milk. So, I decided to test it like how I would actually make it – by boiling water and adding it to the mix in a mug.

I blended together the sugar, powdered milk, and cocoa. I added about 4 teaspoons worth (a little more than a tablespoon) of chocolate chips to each mug and split the mix between it. I added 3/4 cup of boiling water to each mug, mixed, and topped with marshmallows.

I was skeptical about how this would turn out, but it was actually rather nice. It mixes up well if you put it in individual mugs and then add boiling/steaming water. You just have to be sure to mix well to mix in the chocolate chips at the bottom.

The combination of cocoa and chocolate chips means that the hot cocoa has a great chocolate flavor; the cocoa powder blends in easily while the chocolate chips give the hot cocoa a smooth texture. This seemed incredibly sweet to me. I think it was the combination of sugar plus sugar in the chocolate chips plus sugar from the marshmallows. If I were to make this again for me, I’d cut back on the sugar (and potentially the marshmallows). I think I’ll still make my usual hot cocoa mix, but the addition of chocolate chips to this made it a nice change, and I might use the chocolate chips in other mixes as well.

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