Although you can purchase hot cocoa packets and canisters, many of those now include artificial or non-sugar sweeteners. (Gross!) By making your own hot cocoa powder, you can control the quality of the ingredients.
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered milk (Nestle Carnation)
1 cup powdered creamer (Nestle Coffee-Mate)
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa (Penzeys Spices)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli)
1. Place a large oven bag inside a bowl to control the cloud of powder.
2. Using a fine mesh strainer, sift the first 4 ingredients into the bag. Add salt.
3. Leaving some air inside the bag, tightly close the bag and shake vigorously to mix the ingredients.
4. Add the mini chocolate chips, and then close and mix the cocoa again.
5. Place the hot cocoa powder into a sealed container and store for up to a year.
Add 1/4 cup of the mix for every 4 ounces of hot water.
Developing the Recipe
After purchasing a Black Friday deal Keurig, I purchased a pack of hot cocoa k-cups, and quickly learned that every flavored/sweetened k-cup includes artificial sweeteners such as sucralose or asparatame, or non-sugar natural sweeteners like Stevia. I also checked the Nestle hot cocoa packets that we use at work, and sure enough, it contains sucralose.
Frustrated, I dug out my old family recipe for hot cocoa that makes a HUGE batch and was originally designed to use entire packages of the products. Unfortunately, the Great Package Shrinking of America (circa 2008) meant that I needed to adjust the recipe.
20 quart box powdered milk (64 oz 4 lb box)
– Now sells in 9.6 oz and 25.6 oz (8 qt)
16 oz jar powdered creamer (Cremora)
– Now sells in 15 oz, 22 oz, 35.3 oz, or 56 oz.
2 pound box powdered Nestle’s Quick
– Now sells in 9.3 oz, 14.1 oz, 18.7 oz (1.16 lb), 41.9 oz, 48.7 oz
3/4 pound powdered sugar
– Now sells in 16 oz, 32 oz, 4 lb.
I converted the recipe to ounces and created a ratio, which I could test. The following ratios are for milk, creamer, cocoa, sugar:
Original in ounces: 64, 16, 32, 12
Reduced to minimum: 16, 4, 8, 3
Simplified: 4, 1, 2, 3/4
I used the ratio to build a recipe.
TEST RECIPE 1
10 Tablespoons powdered milk
1¾Tablespoons coffee creamer
5 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
This recipe was really bland, so I searched online for a recipe with the same ingredients, but a different ratio.
TEST RECIPE 2
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Nesquik
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup powdered creamer
It was chocolaty, but didn’t taste quite right, so I adjusted a little and tried again.
TEST RECIPE 3
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Nesquik
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup powdered creamer
2 pinches of salt
Still not happy, I did further research online. I found recipes that used whole milk and melted chocolate, but this was too elaborate. I found several that included salt. I found some that used chocolate chips. I tested and tested. The following are the high points that I learned.
Sift the Powders
It is important to sift all of the powdered ingredients before mixing your hot cocoa. The sugar can clump, causing uneven flavors. The powdered milk and cocoa can have small pieces of fat that float to the top of your cocoa. The easiest way to do this is using a fine mesh colander.
Contain the Mess
It is worth noting that when you mix powders, there is a lot of dust, and this was a messy, messy job. The dogs licked up more chocolate dust from the floor than I would have liked. I tried mixing the powders in a bowl with a lid. When I opened the bowl, dust flew around, and the powder was on the edge of the bowl, falling off. I tried this with a plastic and a glass bowl with the same results. Huge mess. I also tried using a gallon zipper bag, but the opening was too small to sift the ingredients into, causing a different mess.
Finally, I found that if you place a larger oven or slow cooker bag in a bowl, and fold down the edges, then the mess could be contained because the bag is so tall. To mix the powders, twist the bag to seal in air and shake vigorously.
Use Quality Chocolate
Eventually, I figured out that the Nesquik had a chemical flavor that was making my cocoa taste odd. After some research online, I learned that some of the best cocoa powder that you can use to make hot cocoa is Dutch-processed cocoa. And that hot cocoa is better if you can use real, melted chocolate. I put the two together, using Penzeys Spices Dutch Process cocoa powder, and using Ghirardelli mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. I’m very pleased with the results.
So feel free to use this recipe, and for more recipes, see my ever-changing personal recipe collection at stphne.com/recipes.