Perhaps the quintessential cold-weather beverage, hot chocolate has long been a favorite of mine. I drink it much less often as an adult since I prefer to eat my calories rather than drink them, but on a cold and snowy day, hot chocolate is still a delicious way to warm up. These days I find most of the store-bought mixes to be far too sweet, and so I set out to make my own.
All the popular Pinterest items used non-fat milk powder, so I gave that a shot. I had reservations on how well this would work because it’s the milk fat that makes proper hot chocolate into the creamy delight we look for. As expected, the non-fat versions tasted far too watery to me. I knew I wanted to include milk powder since the goal was not to have to heat up milk every time I wanted a cup, and so I checked to see if whole milk powder was a thing that exists.
Helpful, Amazon has my back and I promptly ordered what I presume is basically a lifetime supply. Fortunately it is shelf-stable for quite a while (or you can freeze it) so I had no qualms about order it. After a couple iterations to get the cocoa:sugar ratio down, I landed on my perfect concoction. Not too sweet, very chocolatey, and pleasantly creamy without the hassle of heating milk or the requirement to have a splash of heavy cream on hand. (We almost always do, but I realize the average person does not buy heavy whipping cream by the half-gallon.)
This recipe easily scales, so you can make less for a small amount or scale it up and give it away as gifts. Add a cute jar and a tag with instructions and you have a wonderful small token of appreciation. It keeps for at least 6 months (that’s how long my batch lasted) so you can stock up for the season ahead. All the convenience of those pre-made mixes and the ability to tailor the amount of sugar to your preferences; a win-win if you ask me.
DIY Hot Chocolate Mix
Makes about 8 servings
3/4 cup whole milk powder1
1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder (regular works okay too)
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar2
to prepare hot chocolate
12 oz boiling water
3-4 Tablespoons mix
- For the mix: whisk together milk powder, cocoa powder, and sugar until well combined. Store in an airtight container.
- For hot chocolate: Add 3-4 tablespoons mix to the bottom of a large mug.
- Pour in 1-2 ounces of boiling water, and mix until well combined. (A handheld milk frother works great for this.)
- Pour in remaining boiling water, and continue to mix until completely combined.
- Enjoy immediately with your favorite toppings. (And a splash of Baileys, for the adults.)
1 You must use whole milk powder, the non-fat stuff is useless. Whole milk powder is the key to creaminess without having to heat milk every time you want to prepare a cup of hot chocolate.
2 I prefer my hot chocolate a little less on the sweet side; if you like yours more like a store-bought version, use 3/4 -1 cup sugar .