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Blog - hot cocoa

The Perfect Cup of Cocoa

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Get warmed from the inside out with a rich, creamy mug full of hot cocoa. It's the perfect treat to make after coming in after winter break sledding, ice skating, snow shoeing, or whatever you do in the great outdoors!

Though it takes some extra work, this beats an envelope of instant hot cocoa mix hands down. Mixes usually are a combination of cocoa powder, sweetener and powdered milk. By making your own, you can play with proportions by adding more or less sugar, milk or cream, plus add some extra ingredients to make your hot cocoa extra delicious.

Hot cocoa recipe

Makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients

•½ cup white sugar

•½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

•⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

•⅓ cup boiling water

•3 cups milk

•1 cup cream

•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Bring water to a boil in a small pot. An adult should help carefully whisk in sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.

Reduce heat to medium so liquid simmers. Stir constantly, and add milk and cream. Keep stirring for another minute. An adult should remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.

Tips and toppings

•Swap out vanilla for mint or orange extract.

•Add some cinnamon for a little spice.

•Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, candy cane sprinkles, or whatever sounds good to you!

Fun cocoa facts

Even ancient civilizations liked hot cocoa. The Aztecs made a drink from cocoa called xocolatl, which means bitter water.

Is there a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa?

Though some people use the terms to mean the same thing, technically, they are different. Hot cocoa refers to drinks made with cocoa powder. Some drinks are actually made with melted chocolate.

What is cocoa powder?

Cocoa powder looks like coffee grounds but is more finely ground, so it has a smooth, almost silky feel like flour. Cocoa powder, like any kind of chocolate, is made from pods that grow on trees. The seeds of the cacao tree are called cocoa beans.

The seeds are harvested and fermented, and then dried and roasted.

The shells are removed and the inner part is ground into pure chocolate and then melted. This is usually mixed with ingredients like milk and sugar to make chocolate candy. But, the liquid pure chocolate can be separated into cocoa powder and cocoa butter.

Some cocoa powder is Dutch processed, which mean that it has been treated to be less acidic.



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