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Homemade Hot Cocoa

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Homemade hot cocoa is so absurdly easy to make, it amazes me that store bought packets dominate the market.  The homemade variety is fast, easy and gives you complete control of the ingredients.  So say goodbye to unnecessary preservatives and excess sugar and say hello to pure chocolate delight!  Below is my personal favorite recipe, it makes a rich and creamy, semi-sweet brew.  But this recipe can be effortlessly tweaked for sweetness, creaminess, and to introduce new flavors (see notes for ideas).  Cheers!

Homemade Hot Cocoa


  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (or other sweetener of choice, see note)
  • Boiling water
  • 2-4 ounces milk, preferably whole


  • Put the kettle on to boil.
  • Pour the cocoa and syrup into a mug.  Stir with a spoon until it forms a wet, pasty consistency (this helps the cocoa powder dissolve better).
  • Pour boiling water over the cocoa until the mug is about ¾‘s full.  Stir.
  • Top with milk.  Stir again and enjoy!


  • Cocoa powder: I like Hershey’s cocoa powder because it’s easy to find and inexpensive but still a nice quality.  I’ve used generic brand cocoa powder and it tastes good but it tends to clump up and leave chunks at the bottom of your mug. I think Hershey’s (or other more premium brands) are worth a little extra cost.
  • Sweetener: Maple syrup is my hot cocoa sweetener of choice.  It adds both sweetness and a slightly smoky complexity to the cocoa.  However, it’s expensive, not always on hand and can be easily substituted with tons of other sweeteners.  Try honey, agave, or plain sugar.  And feel free to adjust the ratio as well.  Double the sweetener for a sweet tooth or cut it in half for more bittersweet flavor.
  • Extras: For a creamier cocoa you can substitute the milk with half and half or cream.  Or you can substitute the water with hot milk.  A couple drops of vanilla or peppermint extract are another delicious touch.  And of course  don’t forget the marshmallows.

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