I've been trying to take it easy for the past few days as I've been healing from sickness: sleeping in, taking things off of my calendar, and having the kids (including the new book-reader, Rowan) come to me with piles of books on the couch. With slowing down comes the rare moments relaxing on the couch. You know how it feels when you're not well and none of your plans or excitement of plans matter? Only being still and observing life happen around you is what you want. Nothing more.
I suppose this morning is the perfect morning to share our cocoa (which heals us physically and mentally so often in the winter). I just might make some after I write.
Our cocoa mix has become a fall/winter tradition. As soon as it becomes cold out, we find our extra large mason jar, gather our ingredients, and put our mix together on the counter. The large jar of cocoa mix becomes a permanent fixture on the counter for the whole season.
Remember our Dark Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon Mix? This is a much improved version of that mix with one flavorful replacement in the recipe: coconut sugar. The difference is amazing--the coconut sugar adds an incredible depth of flavor while nicely sweetening the cocoa as a lower glycemic sweetener over white sugar.
We buy our coconut sugar (also known as coconut palm sugar) at Costco and I primarily use it when sweetening things for the kids. It has more nutrients than white sugar and, as I said above, doesn't raise your insulin level as much as white sugar. I love that it adds a subtle flavor of coconut to whatever we add it to.
(Bobby and I are currently working on a Good, Better, Best post all about sweeteners coming next week.)
I like to make a huge batch of our cocoa mix to last for months. It can be stored at room temperature, and ideally, on a little corner of the counter for convenience. :)
cinnamon coconut hot cocoa mix
Makes roughly 6 cups of cocoa mix
1-2 TBSP of cocoa mix per 1 cup of milk (or almond milk or cream + water) = 48-96 cups of hot cocoa
3 cups cocoa
2.5 cups coconut sugar (or sugar free substitute)
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP salt
1. Combine all ingredients and sift. This will result in a finer, well blended mix.
2. Carefully pour the mixture into your extra large glass jar. (A large funnel would work awesome here. Too bad we don't have one!)
3. Your mix is ready! I love this recipe because it is dark with a light sweetening that just brings out the cocoa even more. My children love it as well but if you want it a bit sweeter, just add a bit more sugar by the 1/4 cup to the recipe.
How to make hot cocoa:
1. Add 1-2 TBSP of your cocoa mix (depending on how dark you like your cocoa) to 1 cup hot milk (or your choice of milk). Mix well. Add a drop of pure vanilla extract and mix again. You are ready to sip!
Topping your cocoa:
Some of our favorite toppings are:
- Candy cane whipped cream
- Semi-sweet or dark chocolate chocolate chips--let your kids each drop a few in their mugs and swirl around to melt. They add a bit more sweetness and are a great alternative to those mini marshmallows with a long ingredient statement.
- A cinnamon stick--my kids love stirring their cocoa with the stick and then using it as a straw. It adds a bit more cinnamon-y flavor as well.
Now for the annual "turning the mix into a festive cocoa mix jar." With a few cinnamon sticks, wrap a rubber band around the middle of the sticks and around the mouth of your jar a few times.
You can always tell what season of winter we are in based on the lid of our cocoa mix jar. This is our winter lid for this year: my faux bois fabric cut with pinking shears and layered between the lid and jar ring.
If you would have stopped in over the Christmas holidays, it looked like this: festive and always red and green.
If you make this mix in a larger quantity you could fill smaller mason jars, add a festive scrap of fabric and cinnamon sticks, and give to neighbors and friends with instructions of how much to use.
I really love have a go-to cocoa mix throughout the winter. After our little sewing classes here with friends, or playing in the snow, or just cold days and night, the mix is ready to be added to hot milk and enjoyed.
Hope you enjoy the recipe. And I hope you enjoy these remaining months of hot cocoa weather!