This is the richest, creamiest hot cocoa I have ever eaten. When I as a girl and the church gave us food, they often gave us cans of evaporated milk in the food boxes. I used to make this for my sister and I and we always felt like we had something really special. Later, as an adult, I remember buying hot cocoa from a coffee shop that was supposed to be the very best in the whole wide world. What a disappointment it was when that expensive, supposedly amazing cocoa, couldn’t hold a candle to my old childhood favorite. This stuff is top-notch. An entire batch costs me about $1.20. A 12-ounce serving, equivalent to a large hot cocoa from a coffee shop, costs 60¢. Each time you make this cocoa instead of buying it from Starbucks, you save $3 to $4 per serving. The entire batch, which makes 2 (12-ounce) servings, saves $6 to $8. If you’ll be wanting it later in the day, when you’re away from home, prepare it in the morning and pour into a preheated thermos. It carries as easily as coffee.
If you prefer mocha flavored hot cocoa, replace the hot tap water with leftover coffee from breakfast. Or add 1-tablespoons of instant coffee to the pot while it heats. For Mexican cocoa add a good sprinkle of ground cinnamon. For mint cocoa, add a peppermint stick, broken into bits, and stir it until the candy dissolves. You can also serve the plain hot cocoa with a candy cane as a stirring stick. Festive for the holiday season. And of course, you can always float a marshmallow or 2 on top.
Decadent Hot Cocoa
- 12 ounce can evaporated whole milk
- 1-1/2 cups hot tap water
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- Dash Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Measure the water into a 2-quart sauce pan. Add the sugar, cocoa and salt. Warm the mixture over medium heat. Stir until the cocoa dissolves completely. Gently bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a fast simmer and simmer it for about 5-minutes. This will keep the cocoa from sinking to the bottom of the cup when you serve it. Finally add the evaporated milk and stir to blend. Reheat briefly, but don’t boil if you can manage not to. Pour the hot cocoa into smallish cups.
This recipe makes four 6-ounce servings OR three 8-ounce servings OR two 12-ounce servings.
You can double it when you are serving a gaggle of cold children who’ve come inside from sledding. It goes really well with cookies, tomato or vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on a snowy day. Delightfully smooth and rich.