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I was thinking it would be kind of fun for holiday gifts for the office to make some gift baskets with different flavors of hot cocoa w/ homemade marshmellows. The only problem is that I cannot find a reliable recipe for hot cocoa mixes on the web with out trying a hundred different recipes. And there is not alot of flavored recipes out there.

I was wondering, does anyone have a good hot cocoa mix recipe, and if I wanted to make different flavorsof the recipe (for example, peppermint, amaretto) how would I do that?


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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I recently posted in some detail about my experiments with flavored hot chocolate in this topic.

I prefer hot chocolate to hot cocoa, and when I travel and have access to hot water but not milk, I prepare a mix with powdered milk that has gone over very well as a gift.

I like one ounce of 70% cacao chocolate per cup of milk; for those who like their chocolate lighter, a 50-60% cacao may be preferable.

Per cup of hot chocolate

1 ounce chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup instant powdered milk


seasonings to taste, e.g.,


1/4 teaspoon ground hot chile (not cayenne; aleppo pepper, hot new mexico chile, etc)

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add the coarsely chopped chocolate, milk powder, and spices to the blender or food processor, cover your ears, and let it go until the chocolate is finely chopped and evenly mixed with the milk powder.

Instructions for the end-user: place 1/3-1/2 cup of mix into your cup. Heat some water to near boiling. While it is heating, stir a tablespoon or two of water into the mix in your cup--if you get all the milk at least damp you're less likely to end up with lumps. Then gradually stir in just under one cup of hot water. Adjust the quantity of mix to make it as thick as you like.

And alternate seasonings that lend themselves to this:

Mixed spices

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pink pepper and star anise

1/8-1/4 teaspoon powdered star anise

1/8 teaspoon ground pink peppercorn


1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

2-3 drops of orange oil or a small piece of dried orange peel

Mace, star anise, and cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg, freshest is best

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/8 teaspoon ground star anise or anise seed

With coconut currry

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon coriander

3/8 teaspoon mild chili powder or sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon coconut milk powder or unsweetened dried flaked coconut, whirled with the spices in a spice grinder

With lime and cardamom and long pepper

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

2-3 drops lime oil

1/4 teaspoon long pepper

Hope that gives you some good ideas.

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Thank you, Thank you!

I saw your post and even went out to your wonderful website. (that was yours with all the neat pix's of hot cocoa?) All these look so good they may end up in my cup!

Once again, thank you!

PS - I wasn't sure about hot chocolate, wasn't sure how it would keep if people decide not to use it for a while...

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Chocolate will keep for a good long while--cocoa butter is very stable, and in hot chocolate, since you're melting the chocolate, a bit of blooming or other change in the chocolate texture won't matter; powdered milk is designed for long term storage; what they'll lose first is the freshness of the spices in the mix.

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BTW, my answer did not mention the things you put out as examples in your first post.

For peppermint, I would use a few drops of peppermint oil, and be sure to really mix it well into the milk/chocolate so it gets evenly distributed. A little ground black pepper reinforces the pepper in peppermint. I've not had a satisfactory result with peppermint leaf, fresh or dried. Peppermint extract is too much liquid for me to be comfortable with the dry mix I'm using.

For Amaretto, I would use freshly ground mahleb (aka mahaleb), the pit of wild black cherry trees from the mediterranean. You would only need a little bit--1/4 teaspoon per cup should be plenty. The seed is a bit bitter, so you don't want to overdo it. Or give them a bottle of amaretto and ask them to add it to taste when they're preparing the chocolate.

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Thank you so much for all your ideas! These are wonderful ideas, I am beginning to think I may end up making this stuff and keeping a batch for myself!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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  • 1 year later...

This past weekend the family headed up to Wave Hill in the Bronx for the "Hibernator's Ball," which included a series of events targeted at kids and families. Much to my surprise, one of the stations at the event was occupied by a woman demonstrating how to make your own hot cocoa mix.

I had never considered doing this -- never really even thought about the composition of a hot cocoa mix -- but the stuff she made was delicious (there were samples available for tasting; I had many) and would make for really cool gifts.

Cell-phone photo:


The basic idea is you mix sugar, cocoa powder and dry milk. If you want to layer it you can add some chocolate chips to make it look nicer as a gift. Corn starch makes it thicker. You can add cinnamon and chili powder to give it a Mexican twist. Etc. Mix with hot water or, for a richer product, with hot milk.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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How would you go from the fancy layered jar of dry stuff to the steaming mug?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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From that first picture, it would seem that one would have to do a lot of digging to get the right ingredients in there. Is that jar supposed to be used in its entirety for a big batch of hot cocoa?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Peter and Mitch:

The layering is just the gift presentation. The recipient is supposed to mix the mix, either in a bowl or by shaking if there's jar space. Once it's all mixed together, you fill a mug about 1/3 full with the mix, top off with either hot water or hot milk, and stir.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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