Valentine’s day is not on top of the holiday list in our house, but its absolutely a day that we do try to at least acknowledge that we are fortunate to have such a loving family. Its a Thanks-giving Day devoted specifically to being grateful for loving one another. A tradition of mine has become making everything from scratch, I do that almost every day yes, but Valentine’s day especially. We make handmade cards, homemade snacks and there’s usually some sort of lovely meal. (or yes sometimes even… Chinese Take-out) We rarely buy into the flower and purchased candy fad. I’ve always found there’s something particularly special about handmade gifts. Even if you have all the money in the world I still think everyone appreciates the extra time and dedication it takes to make something special for someone. In the age of gift cards and cold hard cash, I think that a truly loving statement of sentiment is making something yourself.
One of the DIY pantry staples I’ve begun making this year is hot cocoa. I never really thought twice about buying the packages but much like the popcorn and oatmeal I’ve noticed the price is just through the roof. Now days for in an instant foods, you pay extra. Riley is drinking hot chocolate like there’s no tomorrow, every time I notice them really flocking to one particular packaged item I try to re-invent it in a way that’s homemade. I’m not trying to deprive them of life’s simple joys its just usually more cost effective and healthier when I make it myself. This mix may or may not be more cost effective, I doubt its much healthier calorie or sugar wise, but it is richer and I think much tastier than the packages. It is a series of dried-packaged products, but making it this way I do know what’s in it. I know exactly how much sugar I’m pumping into my kid because well…I doused the 2 cups of sugar into the mix all by myself. When he’s hanging off the ceiling in his underpants, when he’s all crazy for coco, I know its because I’ve cracked him out all by myself.
This mix is a combination of cocoa powder, sugar, dry non-fat milk, malted milk powder, salt and corn starch. Its easy to mix together and just as easily gratifying as anything from a package. It would be great to package into individual envelopes or jars and given as a gift for any holiday, or even just to say Hi! Its delicious and sweet for anyone special in your life.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Powder
Adapted From: Alton Browns Recipe
Using 1 cup of cocoa gives you an IDENTICAL result to the packaged hot chocolate mixes. I added another 1/4 cup because… well is there such thing as too much chocolate? I used regular PA made, dutch processed cocoa. You could use dark cocoa powder or possibly even the black-cocoa if you have it on hand. I typically only have the regular stuff around. Alton’s recipe recommends using powdered sugar which I believe is because it dissolves best. I have used regular sugar and it has a tendency to separate a bit after sitting for a while. Use powdered sugar for best results. (especially for gifting)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered milk ( I used 1 cup malted milk powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons corn starch
Place all ingredients into a sifter and sift into a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Place into an air tight container or package into envelopes or jars.
Combine 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of powder with 8 ounces of boiling water. Stir to combine, enjoy!