Because real life got unexpectedly heavy today, I've decided to share my secret to hot cocoa tonight.
I make no bones about my overwhelming feelings of concern for sweets, usually the chocolatier, the better. But let's face it, we can't always have our cake and eat it, too (at least I oughtn't). During the cooler months, I have found that a good cup of hot cocoa is the happiest of mediums. And if you follow me on IG, you've probably already seen a post too many about it this year.
Some time back, I ditched pre-made hot chocolate after realizing what all is actually in it. And while I was at it, started using alternatives to sugar: first agave nectar before hitting pay dirt with good old honey. I also prefer to use cow's milk alternatives and like the vanilla almond beverage in the refrigerated section at Trader Joe's, the one in the blue carton.
The piece de resistance: chocolate! I've tried lots of different cocoa powders. And you guys, dutch processed cocoa powder is the only way to go here. Trust. My favorite Y.O.Y. tends to be from Peet's Coffee (and Tea? Is it Peet's Coffee and Tea? I digress). Bummer thing is, it's only a seasonal item and its season is WAY shorter than hot cocoa season is long. I have yet to see it in a store. But I ran across some organic DPC at Costco (which is POOF! gone from the warehouse already) from Rodelle. It's gooood. Of course it is because I can't get it anymore.
Bottom line: high quality dutch processed cocoa powder = must.
Historically reserved only for weekends, but lately making a regular appearances, is the boozy component. Copious amounts of liqueur. In heavy rotation here are Irish Cream, Kahlua, and Frangelico. Usually in some combination.
I actually measured what I added on Friday: a shot of Frangelico and half a shot of Kahlua (because I was surprised the initial shot took up so much space in the mug, so I went easy). Feel free to add to taste or feel, depending on your intentions for the evening.
Finally, finish with your topping(s) of choice. Lately I've been going full bore with marshmallows AND the usual whipped cream. It's a blessing and a curse that TJ's now carries plain marshmallows, although the chocolate covered ones will work, too. I *might* have tried them last year.
Without further ado (because there's already been enough a-done):
1 cup milk of choice
1 heaping Tbsp Dutch Processed cocoa powder
3 Tbsp* honey, or to taste
Liqueur, such as Irish Cream or Kahlua
*Reduce to 1 Tbsp if using liqueur
While milk is heating, combine cocoa powder and honey in a mug, mixing until it comes together in a paste. If using, add liqueur and stir. Add hot milk and stir until cocoa mixture (mostly) dissolves. Top with whatever your heart desires and (hopefully) enjoy!
Growing up, we usually had Swiss Miss at the ready. Never Ovaltine. Ever. I think I had Ovaltine once at a friend's house and loved it, but for some reason my mom wouldn't allow it. Years later, I tried Ovaltine again an realized my mom was justified in her refusal.