Saturday, December 03, 2005

Hot Cocoa Mix

You're probably wondering what the heck that is in the photo. Unless you read the title for this post, in which case you may have guessed that it is a hot cocoa mix.
Is there anything better than a big, steaming mug of cocoa on a cold day? Well, I'm sure there are some things (world peace, etc.), but it is pretty high up on the list. It is chocolatey, sweet and not nearly as heavy as hot or drinking chocolate, which is typically made with melted chocolate instead of, or in addition to, cocoa powder.
The proportions I used here have enough sugar to make a really creamy ice blended coffee drink when you add it to a cup full of ice, half milk and half strong coffee. I know that some of us won't be thinking about iced coffee drinks for a while, but if you're south of here - oh, say in Australia or something - this is probably a usedful tip. The powdered milk makes any drinks extra creamy when they're made with milk, but it also allows you to make the cocoa with water instead without loosing too much flavor. Vanilla powder is made from ground vanilla beans. It can be a bit difficult to get ahold of because your neighborhood market isn't likely to carry it. It adds a hint of vanilla flavor and boosts the cocoa if you use it, but the mix tastes great without it, too.
This mix makes a great gift because it will keep for quite a long time. Just pack it into a tin with some marshmallows and cookies and you can check someone off you holiday shopping list.

Hot Cocoa Mix
3 tpbs unsweetened cocoa powder
7 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp dry nonfat milk powder
1 tsp vanilla powder (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a lidded container and shake well. Store covered
Makes about 1 cup.

For gift giving, make sure to include this information on the label:
For hot cocoa, mix 2 spoonfuls into a mug of hot water or milk.
For ice blended cocoa, fill a cup with ice to the top, then halfway with mik and halfway with strong, cold coffee. Add two heaping spoonfuls of cocoa mix and blend in a blender until smooth.