The Arctic trend continues here in Connecticut and it’s wearing on me. The heat never seems to be right at work and we’re always cold, all day long. Then I return to a residence that has been mostly upgraded to new windows, except for the 3×3 panel in my living room–an eleven-foot length of pure light that I love for its unique design, its charm, its warmth, albeit, in spirit alone–and wonder why my nose is a popsicle when it’s only 5 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I am tired of being cold all the time.
I love coffee. Love isn’t even a strong enough word to describe my relationship with coffee. But I can’t drink much of it. It upsets my stomach and I already have problems with insomnia, which will only be exacerbated by adding cups of joe at the end of the day. Tea is an obvious option, but I drink that all day long at work, eternally hoping with each cup I fill that it will offer some lasting heat–and finding it quickly turns to iced tea instead. What else is there to drink? Hot cocoa, of course!
You can purchase your cocoa from the store. We all have done it. And there certainly is a myriad of options to select from, depending on your budget, taste, needs. It’s all so easy. But you know what? It’s also really easy to make your own mix, which can be tweaked precisely to what you want. And there’s something really cool about that.
I opted for chopping finely some high-end chocolate in this blend, and I recommend you do the same. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but when you have a recipe relying on so few ingredients, you want to be sure what you use actually tastes great because it can’t hide behind the other stuff. Besides, a bar of Scharffen-Berger Bittersweet Baking Chocolate will set you back for less than $10 and you won’t be using all of it. It’s really not that expensive, when you consider how many cups of cocoa you’ll get out of it. I also really like the flavor of SACO Foods’ Premium Cocoa. It’s a blend of natural and Dutched cocoa powder that has a wonderful rich taste. I use it in most of my baking.
While it isn’t part of this recipe, feel free to add a shot of your favorite other warming beverage–liquor. Amaretto is always quite nice. Tequila may work well here, too, given the spiciness. Keep warm, my friends!
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped rough
- ½ cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutched or a blend of natural and Dutched cocoa)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a food processor, combine the ingredients and process in pulses until it's a fine powder, about 30-60 seconds.
- Transfer to an airtight container for storage.
- When ready to enjoy, heat 8 ounces of your milk of choice (dairy, coconut, almond, etc.) in a saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat or in the microwave in 45-second bursts and add to it 3 Tablespoons of the cocoa mix. Stir until dissolved and enjoy!