Alright, I know I said it was going to be a cookie extravaganza, but don't get mad at me. It's not the end of the wor... Well... Let me not go there yet. I'll save a joke for my next post. You know... Just in case...
Anyway, it's not a cookie, but this time of year, you need to know how to make this stuff too. And man, once you make it this way you won't go back to those little single serve packets again! Not only is this flavorful, rich and satisfying, but like I've been saying since I started this blog, if you're making it from scratch, you know what's going in it.
Let me say it again: You're making it from scratch... So you know what's going in it.
Sure, you can go to the store and buy those packets or maybe a big ol' container of the ready made stuff, heck you've been doing it for years, why stop now? Well, here's a good reason: 16 ingredients It's hot cocoa, not Thanksgiving dinner. I don't care what it is, I'm not drinking anything that has 16 ingredients in it. And of course you know, it's not 16 things you can just get off the shelf at Wally World either. We're talking things like Modified Whey and Carageenan. What are they? Well, whey is a by product of cheese. The liquid that remains from the milk after it has curdled and been strained. That's not really the gross part since whey is used for a bunch of things and is packed with vitamins, proteins and minerals. No, the gross part is that it's 1) modified, which probably means whatever was good about the whey is more than likely gone now and replaced with something that is probably a lot less good, and 2) it's going in your hot cocoa. Which, by the whey, is not the way I like to consume my cheese by product. Oh yeah, and Carageenan. That's just a gum-like paste that is extracted from seaweed that grows in the Atlantic Ocean. Where else would cocoa get its thick, creamy taste from? Care to see the other 14 ingredients or the F that it earned in its food ranking? Check it out over at foodfacts.com.
I know they're gone for me, but I hope those days are now put way behind you too. Don't worry, we'll make up for it from now on. And we'll start with this:
I added cinnamon and nutmeg to my mix because I'm a nut for those spices. Cayenne is from the original recipe and I'll try that out next time. But only because it's Alton Brown.
You can store this indefinitely. That's like, a really long time.
If you happen to have Carageenan laying around your pantry, you can substitute that for the cornstarch.
Of course, I'm joking.
If you do happen to have Carageenan laying around your pantry, you can substitute that for our friendship.
Of course, I'm not joking.
Alright. I want you to pay attention. This is going to seem like a lot, and you may be overwhelmed. But trust me when I say the hard, stressful work it's going to take to put this together will be beyond rewarding. I'll go slow, so keep up:
Put everything in a big bowl, and mix until it's incorporated.
That's it, you're done.
PHEW! Talk about hard work, huh? That modified whey and carageenan was starting to sound good for a second.
You may have a big clump of sugar here or there but it's nothing a push of a finger won't fix. I had a few empty coffee tins that are perfect for storing the cocoa mix in my pantry. If you don't have something like that just use a zip lock freezer bag.
As far as actually making the cocoa, I like to do mine a certain way.
There's always the debate of milk vs water. Well, to me there is no debate, it's milk all the way, everyday, all day, twice on Sundays. Using water for your hot cocoa actually makes me cringe. It's almost as bad as mayonnaise, and if you know me, you know how much I hate mayonnaise. But those packet things we talked about earlier always say add water, and I think they're the ones that started that fad. I'm telling you, as if they haven't done enough damage...
So, heat up the milk on medium. If you have some whole cinnamon sticks, don't be afraid to steep them in here while it's heating up.
Whole Milk is preferred of course, but 2% is fine since that's what I always have in my house anyway. If you have 2%, don't worry about going out to buy whole milk, but if you're using the next level down, then get your butt to the store because at that point you might as well use water.
While the milk is heating up, I like to take some heavy cream and whip it until it gets slightly thickened. I also add a bit of powdered sugar to it.
If you remember my whipped cream post, it'll be a stage before the soft peaks. I do this when I have marshmallows on hand. If I don't have marshmallows, I'm making full on whipped cream. But since I have marshmallows, I'm just looking for some added creaminess.
Add enough of your awesome, homemade cocoa powder to your mug to fill it up 1/3 to 1/2 the way full. No, not a typo, don't be cheap with this stuff, did you already forget how easy it was to make?!
When the milk is not boiling, but steaming, add enough to your mug to just cover the mountain of cocoa inside. Mix with anything you have handy (not your finger) until the powder dissolves. This step is going to ensure you don't get any lumps in your drink. Although, I'll be honest, I don't mind a lump or two of cocoa mix in my hot cocoa. Matter of fact, I sometimes prefer it.
Once it's dissolved, add the rest of the milk to fill up the mug, leaving about an inch or so on the top.
For some really magical stuff, pour the cocoa out of the mug and into a container that you trust will contain the liquid tightly. And once it's secure, shake it up for a good minute. Pour the result back into your mug for an amazingly frothy cup of cocoa. If you do this, you can skip the whipped cream and just go marshmallows. Heck, probably don't even need those.
If you're not froathing it up, in the remainder of the mug I pour the barely whipped cream, and then I top with a nice handful of marshmallows. Sprinkle with some chopped chocolate and a dash of cinnamon and next thing you know, your tummy's the happiest it's been all winter.
Jack says Merry Christmas
Now, if only we had a cookie that would pair perfectly with this. Hmmm.....