Hot Chocolate: Efficiency or Luxury

On cold winter mornings, my children often breakfasted on cinnamon toast and hot cocoa.  (It was whole wheat toast.) I figured it was probably more nutritious than Count Chocula, and almost as easy, since we used a homemade mix.

We always called it cocoa in the Mauk house, although when I was little we called it hot chocolate.  I discovered the difference when I read about Thomas Jefferson’s favorite recipe for chocolate; apparently, he was something of a gourmet. Or maybe, like me, he just like good food to be the best it can be.  Anyway, after I saw his recipe (source? I don’t remember.), I found that the recipe in my mom’s old Better Homes and Gardens Coookbook (1941) was almost the same.  It’s a little time-consuming and expensive, but if you want to serve and enjoy a luxurious cup of real chocolate, this is it.  ( And if you’re like me and concerned about healthy eating habits, just use a smaller cup.  And sip slowly.)

When we were raising eight kids, however, we used the mix recipe. It uses cocoa, and the milk and sugar are already there — just add hot water. It makes a very good cocoa for kids who aren’t picky.  My dad used to say, “You can have a thing fast, cheap, or good, but you can’t have all three at the same time.”

First, the Hot Chocolate:

Grate:  3 1-oz. squares of unsweetened chocolate into a pan.Add 1/2 c. water and cook over low heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 teaspn. salt and 3/4 c. sugar. Continue to cook and stir for 4 minutes.  Let cool for a little bit. Whip 1/2 c. heavy cream, and fold it into the chocolate.  (You might notice that this is close to the method for making truffles. )Store this in a jar in the refrigerator.  When you want a cup of hot chocolate, place 1 heaping Tablespoon into each cup and fill with hot milk; stir. I think this would probably make 8 cups if you keep your spoon out of it in between servings.

And now, the Hot Cocoa Mix:

We made a big batch.


  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. cocoa
  • 6 c. dry milk
  • 1/2 teaspn. salt
  • 1 2/3 c. powdered coffee creamer

Stir it all up and store in a jar.  Use 1/3 c. for each serving and add hot water.

You know how to make cinnamon toast, don’t you? just butter the bread, sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon, and broil til bubbly.

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