I was just thinking that someone might like to know how to make hot cocoa, a very simple task, so I will tell how here. This drink has recently been touted as richer in antioxidants than red wine, and that may be true. At any rate, it is a fine and comforting drink before bed, or early in the morning. If you have only hot water, then an instant powder is the only choice, and most of them are quite nice, though costly. Cocoa made from scratch is, however, very much nicer, quite cheap, and practically as instant.
For one cup, I use two tablespoons of sugar to one tablespoon of cocoa, mixed in a small saucepan with a quarter-cup of water and a shake of salt. The salt is necessary, or the cocoa will tast flat. The cocoa I prefer is good Dutch-process cocoa, such as that from Penzeys. Put this on a medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring so that everything is included. When it has boiled a minute, add two-thirds of a cup of milk or a bit more. Now add some vanilla extract; I like it, and add about a half teaspoon, though more or less is OK according to taste. Stir, and bring to near boiling, but do not boil; test with a little to check if it is hot. When hot, pour into a cup and enjoy. Some people like marshmallows with it.
I am pretty sure that evaporated milk can be used in cocoa, and cannot be distinguished from fresh. Mix at the ratio of one 12-oz can to a quart of liquid. Or, of course, you can use milk reconstituted from powder.
Composed by J. B. Calvert
Created 14 November 2003