Whether you call it hot chocolate or hot cocoa, it’s pretty delicious and perfect for all those freezing winter evenings when you don’t have a bottle of red wine in the house (a feeling that Giulio and I know all too well). That said, the vegetarian baking chocolate mix you buy from the store is perfect for this. In our corner of Tuscany, we don’t even have the option of luxury hot chocolate or Italian hot chocolate. Our supermarket sells Nesquik, end. of. story. So when I plucked out today’s advent calendar and saw it was to make hot chocolate from scratch, I was over the moon.
A quick side note about my DIY advent calendar. It’s day 7 and I am absolutely loving it. Giulio only pretends to be excited to open the little envelopes each day, but I love the excuse to do something small, but special together each day. Yesterday we roasted chestnuts and the day before we went to look at the Christmas lights. They sound like trivialities, but I know we wouldn’t have made the effort to do them otherwise. We’re pretty lazy and usually just crash after work watching The Crown on Netflix.
But back to my hot chocolate mix recipe. I could have just grabbed a bar of chocolate and melted it with some milk, but that didn’t feel Christmas special enough to me, so I started thinking about what goes into a hot chocolate mix. You’ll be surprised to find that it’s pretty much all stuff you have in your pantry at home and it’s a cinch to make, not to mention free of whatever preservatives and nasty things they put in the shop-bought stuff.
Since I think most hot chocolate mixes are a bit short on chocolate punch, I took a risk and added a whole bar of top notch bittersweet chocolate. The grated chocolate melts instantly the moment you add the hot milk, so you don’t have to stir over the stove for ages and you can customise it to your tastes. Mix up the type of chocolate you use, use a flavoured chocolate, add more or less sugar or go vegan by using soy chocolate and coconut milk powder! The options are endless.
I made a test batch and I was dancing around the house with joy. It was so delicious and rich that I will never order another hot chocolate again. Then I made another batch when no one was looking (sorry thighs) and got to thinking – wouldn’t this be the most amazing edible gift? I love Christmas food gifts. They’re easy, cheap and heartfelt. Imagine your family and friends opening up a beautiful jar of luxury homemade hot chocolate? You could tailored each one to their favourite chocolate bar.You could even make little pots as favours for all the guests invited to your many Christmas parties.
By my third batch, I was a little woozy from all the sugar, but chuffed at my invention. I definitely didn’t set out to make an edible gift when I thought up this hot chocolate mix recipe, but the best things happen by chance sometimes right? Happy chocolating!
Homemade hot chocolate mix
100g bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup powdered coconut milk, powdered milk, or malted milk powder
1 pinch salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
To make your hot chocolate mix, chop the chocolate into chunks and whiz in the food processor. Add the cocoa, sugar and powdered milk, salt and cornstarch, whizz to combine. Scoop into jars and close tightly.
To make a luxury hot chocolate for one
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pouring cream
2 heaping tablespoons hot chocolate mix
In a small pot, heat the milk and cream until almost boiling, then add the hot chocolate mix. Whisk together gently until well mixed and melted. Pour into a mug and serve, preferably with marshmallows…