Hot Cocoa, My Way

News of Snowpocalypse 2015 had me craving blanket forts and hot cocoa (but not necessarily snow,) and then I realized that my hot cocoa recipe is good enough to share. Here it is:

  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s baking cocoa (the powder)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • a dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Milk, and some mugs
Optional ingredients*
  • 1 tbsp Terva-Siirappi (Finnish pine tar syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Put the cocoa, the sugar, and the water in a small pot. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. It’s ready when it’s smooth — no cocoa clumps, no sugar granules.

Add the salt and the vanilla. At this point you have a standard dark chocolate syrup.

Add the cinnamon and the tar syrup. The cinnamon adds a very cozy aromatic flavor, and the tar syrup gives it a hint of smoke for some extra-very cozy. More tar means more smoke AND more sweet.

Now that the syrup is ready, take a mug, fill it partway with milk, and then microwave it for a minute or so. You want hot milk, not boiling milk. Now fill the cup the rest of the way with the chocolate syrup you’ve made. For an 8oz mug I do 3/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of syrup (at least when I’m talking about it publicly. It’s possible the syrup-to-milk ratio moves from 1:3 to 1:1 when nobody is looking.)

Stir. Enjoy.

(*Note: no, they’re actually not, but since you probably don’t have Terva-Siirappi on hand right now you get a pass. It’s remotely possible that the same effect can be achieved with a tiny bit of liquid smoke, but I’m not going to perform that experiment until, in desperation, I realize that I’m out of Terva-Siirappi.)