Hot Chocolate (Mix)

I may have mentioned once or twice , I try not to put in more effort than is needed. In some cases, that actually turns into doing slightly more work once, up front, so as not to do it again for a while. Hot chocolate is one of those things. It’s not exactly difficult to put together - cocoa powder, sugar, milk. Taking out the sugar and the cocoa powder, then putting them back, isn't really that much work. Until it starts getting cold and you realize that what you need, every day, is a nice hot chocolate.

Once upon a time, before I would have considered drinking coffee, little Kimberly (well, awkward teenage Kimberly) was hanging out with her mother, aunt and uncle. They were heating milk up for their lattes, then realized that I would be left out. So my aunt pulled out a tin of cocoa premixed with sugar, which she used for Tiramisu, and I got that in my hot milk instead. The idea of keeping homemade hot cocoa mix around was magical to my 16-year old mind. The commercial mixes, while often still delicious, were only suitable for cold chocolate milk, in my opinion. Anything that could have “real” cocoa (dutch -processed, since we were in Germany) should. The first hot cocoa made with cocoa that I can remember was an experience. I wasn't sure what this deliciously chocolatey stuff was (because it was not the cocoa I was expecting), and insisted my mother show me what she had done. So that I could make another one.
The point is, I have an oddly vivid memory of those moments.

So now I make my own mixture, and keep it right next to the microwave. That way it is faster.  Which matters, when you need hot cocoa, now.  I have also taken to grating in whatever chunks of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate are lying around, which lends itself to the premix method- doing this every time is a little more effort than I would want to put in, it makes the whole thing seem like trouble than it is worth. Also, lumps. Sifting one teaspoon of cocoa powder might still be worth it, but seems an absurd amount of effort - just like the grater, the sieve would require rinsing afterwards, which seems excessive for one cup of cocoa, even if finding lumps of dry and bitter powder in your cup somewhat takes away from the experience. Though if you like it that way, I won’t stop you.

I prefer my cocoa to be on the more chocolate than the sweeter side.  The recommendations on the box will usually suggest something around two teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of cocoa powder per cup - I tend closer to one teaspoon of each. If someone doesn't like it, they can add more sugar, or smother it all in marshmallow fluff.  It also still leaves your options open if you are one of those people that like their chocolate with spices or mint or syrups added.

So, here is what goes into roughly one jar (I know, that’s a great measure) of chocolate. Depending on your mood and that of your roommates, it could last anywhere between a day and a year or so (ahahahah ha ha):

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, dutch-processed, whatever you like and can get your hands on)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 oz semisweet chocolate

Sift together the cocoa powder and sugar, grate in (or chop if you like - tiny flakes are better for melting) the chocolate, dump in the jar and get out your milk. For one cup of hot chocolate I usually use one heaping teaspoon (or two regular ones), just dump the mix on the milk and microwave. The chocolate will melt and dissolve in pretty nicely, but you can stir it through once it is heated for any bits that didn’t. At this point if you want to add any spices (say, a pinch of cinnamon and ginger, or something a little stronger - some black pepper or Dr Gonzos Industrial Mash?) or a few drops of extract (mint, for example), or, instead of the spices a shot or two of Goldschlager...or a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract. Some whipped cream? Marshmallows? Or, if you are us, a second cup of hot chocolate. All that decision making is exhausting.

 I thought about calling this post A Declaration of Love, or Happiness in a Jar
 And stir.


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