Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Busy Cooking: Homemade Hot Cocoa Powder

I have become a hot chocolate snob.  Living in Japan, we could get Swiss Miss, but that's just a watery excuse for hot chocolate I give to my kids because it's easy.  There were other chocolate mixes, but the milk and sugar content were different, so the tastes were different than what I wanted.

I discovered something bad, I loved Godiva hot chocolate.  In Japan, a small would run me over $5 a cup.  I started buy William Sonoma hot chocolate mix, which is quite delicious, but at $18 for a jar, it adds up.

This year, I've been searching online and on pinterest to find a perfect make ahead hot chocolate recipe.  There is a recipe on the side of Hersey's cocoa powder that is quite good, but I wanted something that I could make ahead and just have to measure into hot milk.  For the first time, Cook's Illustrated failed me.  I found their recipe for make ahead powder on Brown Eyed Baker, and was not impressed (granted I used subpar white chocolate).  Then, I found this awesome little gem of a recipe on Confection's of a Foodie Bride from Gourmet Magazine 2005 and it was the ONE!

This recipe makes about 70 servings!  I bought all the ingredients and then calculated out the cost per serving of the hot chocolate, since I was trying to save money and have great taste.  It ended up being about $0.30 per serving (and that was with a more expensive higher quality chocolate).  One batch of this would probably be enough to last all winter long, or, in my case, be sufficient to supply gifts to many of your family and friends.

Hot Chocolate Mix:

2 vanilla beans
4 cups sugar
24 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli chips)
9 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (I used Godiva, found it at the register at Michael's)
2 cups Dutch process cocoa powder (I used 1 cup Hersey's unsweetened cocoa, 1 cup Scharfen Berger)

1) Split vanilla beans and scrape seeds into the sugar.  Using your fingers, rub seeds into the sugar.  Place pods into the sugar, cover the bowl and let the sugar sit overnight or longer.
2) Using a food processor, with the metal blade, chop the dark and semisweet chocolates until finely ground- use 4-5 second pulses.
3) Remove pods from sugar, add in cocoa and ground chocolate, mix with a whisk until completely combined.
4) Warm 8 ounces (1 cup) milk, add in 2 -3 TBSP cocoa mix (depending on how sweet you want yours to be), mix, and enjoy!
5) Store for several months in an airtight container.

Something special my kids and I do is have hot chocolate parties.  We even have special kids sized mugs for those occasions.  I even let them add extra marshmallows and sometimes sprinkles to the top of their whipped cream.
I got the jars at Target.  You can even dress them up as gifts with scraps of fabric, what little boy wouldn't love to drink spider man hot cocoa?

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