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Course: Drinks
Keyword: Chocolate, Drinks, Hacks, Holidays, Hot Cocoa Mix, Winter

Hot Cocoa: Reloaded

Hot cocoa in a white mug sitting on a black napkin.
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes
Yield: 5 1/2 cups mix for 22 servings of cocoa
By simply toasting the milk powder before adding it to the hot cocoa mix, we can capture a wide array of flavors, including caramel, toffee, and malt. Basically, one extra step creates the best cup of hot chocolate ever. Just trust me.
And don't forget the homemade marshmallows...
Note: If, like me, you only have kosher salt, simply blend a few tablespoons to a fine dust in a spice grinder.
This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats: Reloaded.
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  • 2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt (see note)
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper, optional, plus more to taste
  • Hot water, for serving

Specialized Hardware

  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Coffee/spice grinder
Hot cocoa in a white mug sitting on a black napkin.
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes
Yield: 5 1/2 cups mix for 22 servings of cocoa

Procedure

  • Heat oven to 300ºF. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Spread milk powder in a thin, even layer the prepared sheet pan and bake until golden brown and crumbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Odds are good the milk powder will be stuck together in lumps and if that's the case, simply pulse it in a food processor a few times. (Toasting the milk powder is technically optional but personally, I think the flavor is worth it.)
  • Transfer the toasted and cooled milk powder to an airtight plastic container and add the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, fine salt, and cayenne, if using. Cover and shake to thoroughly combine. Tightly sealed, the powder will keep nearly indefinitely in the pantry.
  • For one serving, heat 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces or 175 ml) of water to a boil, then remove from the heat. Spoon 1/4 cup of the cocoa mix into a heavy mug and whisk in 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 60 ml) of the water to create a paste. Slowly whisk in the remaining hot water. Let sit about 30 seconds because otherwise you'll scald your face while attempting to chug the deliciousness.
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