Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spice Up Your Cocoa

Trust me on this...I lived in Montana where it's winter more often than not!
Let me just say right now...there is NO good cocoa made with water. So get ya some milk or drink tea instead.
I'm going to give you the basic version right now (in case you just can't wait), then after the jump I'm going to tell you how to take it up a notch. So worth it.
What You Need:

Cocoa (I prefer Penzey's, but most people have Hershey's in their pantry.)
Milk - any kind (and I forgot to include it in the picture!)
Salt (DO NOT skip this...if you do, you will not enjoy the end result)
Spoon (just a regular spoon right out of your silverware drawer.)
Cup or mug (make sure it can go in the microwave)
What you do:
Put 2 heaping spoons of cocoa, 2 spoons of sugar, a pinch of salt and a couple of drops of vanilla into that cup. Add 3 spoons of milk and stir it until it turns shiny (I know...but you'll see it) and there are no lumps in it. (If you have a wire mini whisk, use it. If you don't, get one soon.) Then, slowly add more milk, while stirring until you have your cup almost full. Now, put it in the microwave for 1 min. 15 sec. on high. (My microwave is 1000 watts.) Give it a good stir and stick it back in there for about 45 seconds on high again.  This is where it gets a little tricky, because everyone's microwave is different, but just watch it.  You don't want it to boil or it gets that disgusting film on the top. When it's as hot as you like it stir it once more and drink it up!  Yummm. That is one perfect cup of cocoa made just for you!

Now.....here's how to take it up a notch.
You can use a little bit of coconut milk when you're adding the extra milk for a seriously tasty cocoa.
My favorite adulteration is to add a dash of cayenne pepper or chipotle pepper (right at the beginning, before you add milk).  I know this sounds weird, but it adds some seriously extra heat and a tasty kick.
You can also add just about any kind of ground spice (right at the beginning again) cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, even 5 Spice if you're adventurous.  Not all of these at the same time...just pick one.
You can stir in some Nutella (at the beginning) if you're a fan of that.
You can throw in a drop of almond, raspberry or hazelnut extract.  I do mean a drop here....it's just one cup after all.
You can throw in a peppermint or a chocolate kiss after you have heated it, or just stir it with a candy cane.
If you need to finish it with flair...there's always whipped cream or marshmallows.  I like mine without...it just takes up valuable cocoa space
If you like this recipe and if you drink cocoa all winter long, here's a tip: 
You can skip the vanilla, by making vanilla sugar. It's so easy.  Put 2 cups of sugar in a Ziploc. Split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape all the inner yumminess out with the tip of your knife and add it to the sugar.  Then throw the whole split bean right in there too.  Zip it shut and knead it around with your fingers to distribute those little black dots of vanilla soul evenly into the sugar.  Keeps in the pantry like forever and just gets better with age. Now you don't have to mess with liquid extract in this recipe.
Also, I'm serious about that wire mini whisk.  It's a time saver and makes your cocoa extra smooth.
If you like to add something else to your cocoa that makes it special, let me know by putting it in a comment below.  I might like it too!


  1. Yummy, I need to try this! Or maybe when you come to Joplin we will a cup before we go treasure hunting :-)

  2. My recipe:

    Milk Chocolate K-Cup
    Press start.

    Ha! I know yours is MUCH better...but I'm lazy.

  3. You're from MT! Me too. Now I live just north of St Louis in southern IL...and in the gountry. SovgladI found you! Serena @ teaspoonofspice.com

    1. Oops that's "country"...and "So glad I found you"

  4. This sounds amazing. I am from upper Michigan where we still have 3 feet of snow on the ground as of today. I am going to have to try some spices in my hot cocoa. Found you through 4 You With Love Spicy Party. Newest follower through Linky and google +

  5. I LOVE this, Danni. I especially love all the different ways you can personalize your yummy cup of cocoa! Pinned this! Thanks again for sharing and for supporting my celebration!