Baby, It's Cold Outside! - Learning To Cook Blog at - 290927

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Baby, It's Cold Outside! 
Nov. 30, 2012 6:51 am 
Updated: Dec. 6, 2012 5:41 am
Yes, I am turning into a wimp. My body has been coddled by warm temperatures for too long, and has forgotten the frigid winters of Minnesota. It's 26F and I actually had goose bumps on my arms when I went outside. I probably should have worn a jacket, but I was only going to get a coffee and pick up some cocoa powder for a batch of hot chocolate mix. Darned East Coast has sissified me.

Before I get to the cocoa mix, I wanted to let you all know (and I am sure you've been waiting with worms in your mouth {baited breath!}) that the kids gobbled down the turkey noodle soup I made last night. Excuse me while I take a lengthy pause to laugh at my own humor. I kill me!

I tried to find a good cocoa mix recipe on AR and had no luck. There were several posted, but I'm not a fan of non-dairy creamer, so I went to my go to geek, Alton Brown. He did not disappoint. I don't know if it is appropriate of me to link to another Food Website, or to copy his recipe here, but I am going to anyway. It's easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Alton Brown's Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe:


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • Hot water


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water.

Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. This also works great with warm milk

I'm happily sipping this drink right now, and I can tell you that it is good. Like most of you, I wonder what tweaks can be made to make this a better libation. I did use Hershey's Dark Cocoa powder. It is a blend of natural and dutch processed cocoas. I was trying to figure out why Alton suggested using dutch cocoa over natural. I did a little research and it turns out that the dutch process, which treats the cocoa with alkali, makes a product that more readily dissolves in liquids. Natural cocoa has a stronger cocoa flavor. That's why I settled on using the Hershey's Dark. It combines both natural and dutched cocoas. Another tweak I want to try is to make some vanilla confectioners sugar by adding a vanilla bean to a container of confectioners sugar. I think the added vanilla flavor will really boost the cocoa flavor.

You will notice that Alton's recipe avoids using non-dairy creamer. It uses corn starch to get that mouth feel of thickness or creaminess. I think it is brilliant! In a way, it is like those few recipes I saw that added a pouch of chocolate pudding to the mix.

Baby, it's cold outside! Stay in, and make a delicious cup of hot cocoa and read a good book by the fire place, if you can.
Nov. 30, 2012 11:29 am
Will have to give this a try,think i can use lactose free milk?Thanks for posting.It's cold outside here to.{BRRRRRRR}
Nov. 30, 2012 11:57 am
Manella, I would assume that lactose free milk would work. I've never seen it powdered though. It comes that way?
Nov. 30, 2012 12:54 pm
No, i have never seen it in powder,do you think it will work with liquid milk instead of the water?
Nov. 30, 2012 2:19 pm
Absolutely. I'm assuming that you're not putting in the dry milk in the mix. I don't see why it wouldn't work for you. I did find this on Amazon:
Nov. 30, 2012 4:09 pm
No i won't be putting dry milk in,i don't think they make a lactose free dry milk powder.Will let you know how it works.Thanks for the info.
Nov. 30, 2012 4:28 pm
Hi i looked on that Amazon site you lookd up,and i am going to see if i can buy rice powder at Sobeys or Superstore next time i go to town.Thanks again.
Nov. 30, 2012 5:37 pm
My pleasure! Dairy allergies and lactose intolerance are icky!
Nov. 30, 2012 6:00 pm
Ah, I do wonder how powdered mint would work with this. I would skip the cornstarch just cause but I imagine it would give a nice creaminess. Alton Brown is great for a go to guru isn't he?
Nov. 30, 2012 7:12 pm
Cat thanks for your input here and back on your blog. I do appreciate it, and I will try a small bit of peppermint. I'm thinking next year I'll try for some orange mint as well if this works.
Dec. 1, 2012 5:09 am
Or read a good blog or 2. I agree the east coast has some very easy winters, mild temps and very little snow in South NJ any way. Love the recipe and the jokes and puns even more.
Dec. 1, 2012 8:56 am
Joey Joan, when my wife and I first moved here we were really stoked. It looked like the perfect area for cross country skiing. There are so many great trails through the pine forests! The realtor looked at us like we were from a different planet when we mentioned cross country skiing. Now I understand why. Even when it snows here, it stinks for skiing! Wharton State Forest is just a stone's throw from me.
Dec. 1, 2012 11:54 am
Sorry I referenced you as Doc Simmons in my blog so first I deeply apologize. Now I think we might be sound like my brother, he was so funny. I miss him, he passed a couple years ago. Well my old tried and true recipe for hot chocolate is this, 5 TBSP bittersweet chocolate shaved to a cup of fat free milk that I heat for 2 minutes in the microwave, no sugar needed but is very sweet. Then add marshmallows or not me I am a marshmallow then nuke for 10 seconds and voila!! Hot chocolate to die for!! Have a great day! This recipe is posted on my blog today Hot Chocolate Drinkers Unite!
Dec. 1, 2012 2:47 pm
BEA, thanks for dropping in and leaving a great comment and a recipe for yummy hot chocolate. I think my girls will really like it. I've got some 70% around somewhere, and if I can find it, Cote 'd Or makes a great orange chocolate bar that is 70% cocoa. I bet that would be awesome! And marshmallows would be a great touch. We do a bit of camping, so I like to make dry mixes. Gotta find a source for the dehydrated mini-marshmallows. I know you get them.
Dec. 1, 2012 2:49 pm
BEA, don't worry about misspelling my name. You can call me anything but late for supper!
Dec. 1, 2012 5:35 pm
Love Alton Brown, Doc! No need to beg forgiveness as far as I can see! Thanks for posting his chocolate recipe.
Dec. 1, 2012 5:46 pm
Doc-I love hot chocolate-will have to try this recipe. I post blogs with other websites all the time. For some reason-here in the Southwestern part of Colorado it was 69 degrees. Not our usual weather. Dry and warm for this time of the year. However, Jack Frost is lurking around the corner, and I better be ready when he comes with a mug of hot chocolate to ward off the cold.
Dec. 2, 2012 8:22 pm
Thanks Bibi and you're welcome! Lela your cold is coming. You won't be disappointed.
Dec. 5, 2012 4:14 am
Worms in your mouth made me laugh too!! Funny, that was.
Dec. 5, 2012 9:11 am
Oh my goodness! You sounded like Yoda for a second. ;)
Dec. 5, 2012 5:08 pm
Thank you!! ;-)
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Doc Simonson

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
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Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
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Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
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Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
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There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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