When I was a child, we really did have to walk to school (or the bus stop, at least) uphill both ways in three feet of snow, because we lived on the hilly side of town. Once we moved out of town, we could ski down to the bus stop, but that meant a long trudge dragging the skis back up to the house in the twilight after school, too.
I cannot remember a time when my mother did not make hot cocoa mix during the fall and winter. And if we looked particularly damp, pale blue, and pathetic when we finally reached home, we could often get *two* cups of cocoa out of her, to “warm us all the way up!”
This is a slightly more complex version than her original (which likely came from the Make-a-Mix cookbook in the 1970s, the only item which I can truly say I coveted upon leaving home!) If you want to take it back to the original, remove the instant puddings. It’s still very rich, but with a more distinct dark chocolate flavor. If you use the puddings, decrease the powdered sugar by about two cups to compensate.
Get out your biggest vat to stir this up; the mix takes up a good deal of space! The quart jar shown above is one of more than four I made from the batch. I tend to store it in a half-gallon jar (re-used and well-clean huge pickle jar!) on the counter.
- 1-3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (if you can find this in bulk foods, so much the better!)
- 10 cups Instant Dry Non-Fat Milk Powder (ditto bulk, or buy a box/bag.)
- 2 cups Instant Non-Dairy Creamer powder (plain is great, but you can make flavored cocoa mix by using hazelnut, Irish cream, or amaretto flavored instant cream powder)
- 4-3/4 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar–this is 1 pound
- Options for Ultra-Rich Cocoa: a total of two 4oz packets Instant pudding mix (chocolate, chocolate fudge, or vanilla). I like one chocolate, one vanilla.
Whisk all the ingredients together very well in a large bowl (vat, really. I mean it). Store in an air-tight container, jar, etc.
To make some Truly Lovely cocoa for a winter night, or any time, add about 3 level tablespoons (or approximately 1/4 cup) mix in a six to eight ounce mug. We tend to use 1 tablespoon of mix for every two ounces of hot water. Add hot water, and stir to dissolve.
Variations: vary the pudding flavors (these really are optional; the mix is great even without them) or creamer flavors; add crushed peppermint candies, mini-marshmallows, or mini-baking chips.
You can even make fresh whipped cream, dollop it out in portions on a baking sheet, and freeze them solid, to store in a freezer bag and pop fresh (frozen) whipping cream on top of any cocoa mug. (Drizzle the whipped cream dollops with chocolate sauce or caramel sauce before freezing.)
This batch makes about 45 servings of cocoa, which lasts for about a week at our place. Or less, now that my son is taller than I am, and I can’t put the stuff out of his reach.
The cost works out to be a bit less than a similar quantity of gourmet hot cocoa mix, but it’s highly satisfying to see a huge canister of homemade mix on the pantry shelf, or to make up quart-sized canisters with customized creamer flavors inside.
Makes a great gift, too! Measure out several mug-portions into a ziploc bag, and create a “topper” with cardstock folded in half and stapled on, the whole thing tucked in a mug. Or, measure out portions into a canning or “found” (recycled from other groceries, label-removed) glass jar, and use white school glue to add a label with instructions for making up a mug. Download and print a label right here: Happy Christmas Cocoa Labels.