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. 3

    We love this recipe and will not buy premade hot cocoa anymore. Important to remember is that the quality of the powdered plays an even bigger role in this recipe than dutched vs undutched cocoa. It helped us so much when we found a reasonably priced powdered milk that tasted like fresh milk when reconstituted! We discovered some “fortificado” powdered whole milk in a yellow can (this is a hint on how you’ll know it’s the stuff) in the Latino section of our local ‘big bad national-chain store’ (you know the one) which took our cocoa from meh to MMMMMmmmMMMMMM!!

  2. 4

    I’ll try it! I make everything homemade for my son as it’s much better for him, thanks for the recipe. <3

    On your T.V show it says to toast the milk powder in the oven. At 275? 235? Drat I forgot. Oh well I figure it out.

    I always would make the premade stuff taste better by adding milk, a splash of whipping cream, and salt. Hea, imagine doing that with your recipeie! Droool!

  3. 5

    This is just OK. Doesn’t really taste any better than store-bought, but i make it because i can control the ingredients and sugar level. I stopped using the cornstarch. I was hoping it would make it thicker, but it just makes nasty little lumps.

  4. 6
    Andi K

    James: powdered vanilla is available at Pensey’s. They have online ordering or brick& mortar stores. Possible available in other speciality stores, too.

  5. 7
    Janet Williams

    I have yet to purchase Dutch processed cocoa to make this recipe ‘properly’ but it is absolutely delicious and SO much better than the overly sweet store brands. I am also addicted to adding a pinch of cayenne pepper into most things so I really pinched quite liberally (cayenne is so great for circulation)! I love that I can thicken it up with warm milk or just use hot water. I think adding a dash of cinnamon to your mug couldn’t hurt.

  6. 8

    I love it !! Anytime I want to make something I’ve never made before I go to Alton, it’s always good and everyone wants the recipe ♥️

  7. 10

    I bought some powdered whole milk. I did 2 tbsp cocoa, 1 tbsp sweetener, 1 tbsp whole milk powder and a dash of vanilla extract. It was ok, but the powdered milk gave it an odd flavour. If I add a day of cayenne, do you think it would hide that odd taste?

  8. 11
    Cathy Phillips

    This looked like the recipe I’ve been looking for as it called for powdered milk and I had some I was looking to use up. I made it into Mexican hot cocoa mix by adding 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. cayenne to the batch. I made up a test cup with hot water as I was sending to a college student who presumably would not have access to fresh milk in her dorm room. As with all cocoas prepared this way, frankly, it was “meh.” I appreciated that it was not as overly sweet as most packaged cocoa mixes, but it was not creamy at all. It’s definitely better prepared with fresh, non-skim milk. I added in another cup of powdered milk to help compensate but I’m still on the hunt for the perfect cocoa mix. This one has potential but it’s still not it.

  9. 12

    Excellent. However, I substitute regular sugar for the confectioners sugar, simply because the fine power makes me cough. Other recipes call for coffee creamer and vanilla powder. I have NEVER seen vanilla powder whenever I shop. Today I made a batch and made it with regular sugar, nestle’ s cocoa, coffee creamer, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 shakes of kosher salt, 2 dashes of cayenne chili powder, and 1/2 cup of dry milk. I’ve made this batch mocha style; I’ve added 2 heaping tbsps (or 3 or 4, depending on your taste) of instant coffee. Still, this is an excellent batch. Thank you.

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