When it’s wet, grey, and cold outside, curling up with a cup of hot cocoa can be the most comforting experience.
Makes one cupful
Takes 5 minutes
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put some water on to boil. While you’re waiting, put all the ingredients in the bottom of a mug. When the water is ready, cover the mixture with hot water and mix the ingredients together into a syrup. This helps prevent little pockets of cocoa powder from floating to the surface of your drink. Then fill the mug the rest of the way. Stir and enjoy!
Here are some well-loved variations on the theme of hot cocoa:
Bulk hot cocoa: Fill a container with a 3:2 ratio of cocoa powder to sugar (or adjust it to taste). That’s really all there is to it! A 1/4 cup measure makes a good scoop for transferring it to your glass.
Chocolate orange: Add 1/4 teaspoon orange extract. It’s like drinking a chocolate orange.
Con leche: Replace water with your preferred plant milk. Heat the milk until steam is just rising off the surface. Continue with the instructions as described above.
Fruit at the bottom: Replace the sugar with 1/4 cup of jam or marmalade. The fruit at the bottom will be somewhat bland, but that’s because it gave a little complexity to your hot cocoa. Stir well!
Mexican hot chocolate: Add ground cinnamon or be extra-fancy and ostentatiously use a grater to grate some cinnamon fresh from the stick.
Mint: Carefully add mint essential oil. We use 10–20 drops. For a more natural flavor, steep mint leaves in the hot cocoa like you would to make mint tea.
Mulled cocoa: Add mulling spices.
Red cocoa: Annatto grows in the same forests as cacao and has been used in Mayan cocoa beverages as far back as 800 AD.