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Classic Hot Cocoa
(recipe, Caroline Cummins)
Chocolate diehards — those who have lots of premium chocolate bars sitting around the pantry just waiting to be melted down into an intensely rich beverage, such as Hot Chocolate with a Milk Base — may find this quick, straightforward recipe a mite too simple. But this classic version of hot chocolate is easy to make, relies on ordinary pantry staples (cocoa powder instead of bar chocolate), and is far more flavorful and satisfying than hot cocoa made from a commercial powdered mix.
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (try a mixture of natural and Dutched cocoa powder, if you happen to have both)
- 2 to 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup milk (whole milk is best)
- ⅛ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. brandy, Grand Marnier, Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlúa, etc.
- A sprinkle of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, or even chile powder
- Whipped cream
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar until no lumps remain. Pour in the milk and, whisking to blend, heat the mixture over medium-low heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges.
- Remove from the heat and add any of the optional flavorings you like. For whipped hot chocolate, use a small wooden batidor or an Aerolatte to whip the hot chocolate directly in the pan, or pour the mixture into a blender, cover the lid with a dishtowel, and briefly blend until frothy.
- Pour into a large mug and top, if desired, with whipped cream or marshmallows.