Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix

Instant cocoa is a fine concept, but most commercial mixes aren’t exactly packed with quality ingredients or flavor. My signature instant cocoa blend will fortify you through winter’s worst. My homemade marshmallows go pretty good with this mix too. Just sayin’.

Hot Cocoa Mix
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  1. 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  2. 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  3. 2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  4. 1 teaspoon fine-grain salt
  5. 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  6. 1 pinch (or more to taste) ground cayenne pepper*, optional
  7. Hot milk or water to serve
  1. Combine the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, milk powder, salt, cornstarch and cayenne in a large airtight container. Secure the lid and shake vigorously to combine, and remember to shake prior to every extraction.
  2. To serve: Place 2 tablespoons of the mix in a mug and add about 2 fluid ounces hot water or milk. Stir to combine. Fill the mug with more hot water or milk and enjoy.
  1. * The Aztecs always added chiles to their chocolate. Even a pinch ups the flavor ante quite a bit, and as called for here certainly won't be sensed as "heat."
  2. No matter — this is fast, easy and will keep for a year if kept in an airtight container in a cool place.


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  1. 1
    Dan Hines

    I noticed an interesting product placement in the reload episode aired on December 17. There were several boxes of Tri-x Reversal film in the refrigerator. A nice nod to both filmmaking and to Kodak.

  2. 2

    Ken, you can find it! I saw it the day I found Alton Brown’s. I decided to go with this one first because the ingredients are all natural. I might just try that other one, too, though! Let us know what YOU decide!

  3. 3

    I was expecting THE BEST. I immediately found the flavor to be odd. I added a speck more sugar, and that helped. I have never put salt in my cocoa mix before, and I’m wondering if that is what threw it off for me. I only made a 1/4 recipe to try it out, so now I will make another 1/4 recipe without salt and see what happens.

  4. 4
    Davdi Ghobril

    Kevin Says to use full fat powdered milk. It makes it yummy, just beware that full fat’s shelf life is much shorter than skim because the fat will go rancid so store it frozen.

  5. 5

    Lots of people asking how much this makes. Looking at the ingredients, it seems to make about 5.5 cups of mix. With a cup being 16 tablespoons, that’d be about 88 tablespoons total. Given a serving is two tablespoons, this should produce enough mix for 44 servings.

  6. 6
    Tammy Greene

    Merry Christmas Alton,
    Exactly how many servings does this recipe make? I wanted to make it and give away as presents. I missed the “Good Eats Reload”, will have to find it on YouTube. Enjoy the holiday

  7. 7

    It sounds wonderful. When adding more hot water, after mixing with 2 ounces, how much more is safe to add? Our mugs are bigger than some and hold more than 6-8 ounces. Thank you.

  8. 9
    Kevin McKnight

    Pro tip: use the internet and buy some full-on fat dried milk. It makes a world of difference. This is hot cocoa we’re talking about here, not a protein shake.

  9. 12

    I made a batch of Hot Cocoa mix back in high school that was the best around. Unfortunately, I no longer have the recipe. I remember it used powdered milk and non-dairy creamer along with the chocolate and sugar. I will make a batch based on the recipe above and if it is better than the recipe above I will share my recipe.

  10. 14
    Bob Pierce

    Katie….You did not finish reading instruction #2. It says”Stir to combine. Fill the mug with more hot water or milk and enjoy.” Now it’s not a paste.

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