Hot Cocoa

Hot Cocoa
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hot cocoa
Hot! And tasty!

We don’t know about the weather you’re having, but ours is cold and damp. We’ve had rain off and on for the last couple of days, and, while we love to see rain in the desert, it does give us a little chill. We think one of the best ways to alleviate that chill is with a mug of hot cocoa. Especially if you have a few marshmallows to drop in, which we do (homemade peppermint marshmallows we received as a small treat).

Two things to know: we just made up this recipe, and hot cocoa isn’t the same as hot chocolate. We know that people use the terms interchangeably, but they’re not the same. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa, and hot chocolate is made from chocolate. Simple. Just like this recipe. Oh, the recipe (we guess this might be a third thing to know) lists amounts on a per-cup basis. If you want to make two cups, you’ll need to double the amounts.

Hot Cocoa

Yield: 1 cup

Hot Cocoa


  • 1 cup (240 g) milk
  • 1 rounded Tbs (10 g) Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 5 tsp (20 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Very small pinch cinnamon

Abbreviated Instructions

Whisk ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue whisking until liquid is smooth and lightly bubbling around the edges (about 180-190°F).

Serve immediately with marshmallows or whipped cream (optional).

Ingredient discussion:

We use Dutch-processed cocoa because it’s darker and less bitter. Plus, we think it tastes more chocolatey, which is good enough for us. Vanilla extract pairs so well with nearly everything that we figure you’ll want just a bit in your cocoa. Finally, that pinch of salt (less than 1/8 teaspoon) brings out flavor and the cinnamon (even less than the amount of salt) brings out the chocolate flavor.

Procedure in detail:

making hot cocoa
It’s quite lumpy at first, but the cocoa will smooth out as it heats and you whisk.

Whisk and heat. This is simple: combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and start whisking. At first it’ll be lumpy from the cocoa, but keep whisking. As it heats up, the lumps will go away, and, provided you’re diligent about whisking, the lumps will be gone before the cocoa is hot.

Fill mug and enjoy. Once hot, pour into a mug and drop a few marshmallows on top. Enjoy.

We like this recipe because it’s so quick and easy. We first looked in The Joy of Cooking (our go-to guide for nearly everything), by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, but that recipe involved making a chocolate syrup first. We’d do that for a crowd, perhaps, but not for a quick hot drink. This version is easy enough to make up anytime. Anyone for a mug of hot cocoa? Fives.

Worth the trouble?

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