There's nothing more comforting than a warm mug of Old Fashioned Hot Cocoa on a cold day!
Before there were hot chocolate mixes and hot cocoa mixes at the grocery stores, our Mother's and Grandmother's made this warm chocolate drink from scratch with simple ingredients: milk, cocoa, sugar and a drop of vanilla extract!
Here's a simple hot chocolate recipe you can use as is, or add additional ingredients to make it more "fancy"! See "Variations" below.
Why this recipe works
True chocolate lovers will appreciate a delicious cup of hot chocolate!
- Simple, all natural ingredients: use a good quality cocoa powder, granulated sugar, whole milk (or 2% milk), a dash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
- Ready in minutes! This classic chocolate drink comes together in five minutes!
- Perfect Fall or Winter drink! Make ahead and simply warm on the stovetop or in the microwave when ready to serve!
- Use this simple hot cocoa recipe for the base of other cocoa recipes (see Variations below)
If you've never had homemade hot cocoa, you don't know what you're missing! Once you make this, you'll never have Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate or any other hot chocolate brands again!
Ingredients for Old Fashioned Hot Cocoa
Serve this winter season beverage as a warm welcome to your family and friends as they come in from the cold! I like to serve it with a warm plate of homemade cookies, too!
Cocoa powder: To make the best, truly rich chocolate cocoa drink, you need to start with a high quality cocoa powder. Most cooks use Hershey's Cocoa Powder because that's what their mother and grandmother used to make hot chocolate.
It's 100% natural and unsweetened cacao. Founder Milton Hershey introduced his famous cocoa powder in 1894 in Lancaster - just a short drive from Hershey, Pennsylvania.
There are other brands of good cocoa powders in grocery stores like Ghiradelli chocolate and the Scharffen Berger chocolate company. Note that authentic hot chocolate does not use Dutch processed cocoa powder. The Dutch process alkalizes the cocoa beans and the flavor is not the same as "natural" cocoa powder.
Milk: Use whole milk or 2% milk for the most authentic creamy hot chocolate
Sugar: Granulated sugar
Vanilla extract: Watson's Vanilla Extract or Adam's Vanilla Extract are good high-quality extracts
You'll want to garnish the hot milk chocolate with fresh whipped cream or perhaps a homemade marshmallow or two!
How to make it
Old fashioned rich hot chocolate recipes are vintage recipes that aren't exactly rocket science, but there are a few things to take into consideration.
You want a saucepan big enough to hold 2-4 cups of milk plus the dry ingredients - and you need room to stir the mixture, so start with a large saucepan on medium low heat. Add the milk and let it get warm, stirring constantly. (If the stovetop heat is too high, the hot milk will scald or burn, and you'll have to start over.)
Sprinkle in the cocoa powder and sugar; stir until mixture is combined and there are no lumps; add vanilla extract and a pinch of salt; combine till warm and serve in a mug that can tolerate a relatively high heat
Top the homemade hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream and enjoy!
Make small batch hot cocoa or large batch hot cocoa-just keep the ingredients at the same proportion.
One cup of hot cocoa calls for: 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. If you keep these proportions the same, you can easily make hot chocolate for large groups ahead of time.
Nothing. Depends on where you're from and what they call it there.
Yes. Make the milk according to the dry milk package. Then, warm milk and resume recipe.
Variation for Hot Cocoa
If you like to change up things or offer a Hot Chocolate Bar for your guests, make a big batch of hot cocoa and offer different ways for your guests to perfect their classic hot chocolate!
Toasted Coconut Hot Cocoa: Add 2 teaspoons of Malibu Coconut Flavored Rum and top whipped cream topping with toasted coconut. The addition of the rum makes this an especially nice adult hot cocoa beverage!
Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Add 2-3 peppermint candies to hot cocoa; top whipped cream topping with chipped peppermint flakes. Kids love this!
Chocolate Mint Hot Cocoa: Add 2 teaspoons of Creme de Menthe liqueur! Garnish whipped topping with chocolate shavings.
Other additions for your luscious hot chocolate bar might include some Ghirardelli Salted Caramel, mini marshmallows, shavings of Guittard chocolate, a bowl of chocolate chips or white chocolate chips, crushed peppermints or chopped almonds! Any of these additions will ramp up the rich taste of hot chocolate on winter days!
Want your drinking chocolate cold? Put it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and let it chill then serve cold or over ice!
In today's world, there's always a "newer" and "better" way to make recipes, but sometimes the vintage, good old fashioned recipes are the ones that last and stay with us!
Enjoy your Old Fashioned Hot Cocoa in a pair of warm slippers and with a good fire in the fireplace!
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Old Fashioned Hot Cocoa recipe
- 4 cups milk, (2% or whole)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- In a large saucepan on medium low heat, add milk; allow milk to get warm4 cups milk, (2% or whole)
- Add cocoa powder and sugar; combine until there are no lumps¼ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Add vanilla extract and a pinch of salt1 teaspoon vanilla extract, pinch of salt
- Serve in a heat-resisitant mug and top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows