It’s winter here and I’m sick.
These two things may or may not be related. Either way, it’s the time of the year when a warm drink or two is more than welcome.
The Boy is quite partial to those hot drink mixes that come in individual sachets. However, we’re saving for a house. That means luxuries are something to look forward to in the deep, distant future.
He looks cute when he mopes.
Actually, these milky mixes aren’t all that difficult to make. Better yet, you know exactly what you are putting in your family’s tummies and saving money while you do so. I wish I’d known how to make this when I was a freezing student, quite frankly…
Let’s deal with packet mix ingredients first. I copied this little snippet from the website of a leading hot chocolate mix-maker.
Sugar, Milk Solids, Beverage Whitener [Glucose Syrup, Vegetable Fat, Sodium Caseinate (Derived from milk), Mineral Salts (340, 452), Emulsifier (471), Anticaking Agent (554)], Cocoa (10%), Salt, Mineral Salt (341), Flavour [Vanillin (contains milk)], Spice.
Can you see all that sodium in there?
Even the Anti-Caking agent (554) is a form of sodium. I can only presume that using all this salt will make people thirstier and therefore cause them to drink more…
Also, a lot of these additives are synthetic. Eat real food, people. Here’s a start.
At its most basic level, this stuff is a mix of milk powder, cocoa and sugar.
I used skim milk powder, because a lot of it will be drunk (by one person who isn’t doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff in this chill…). You may use full-fat should you so desire.
I like to make my hot chocolate with a few spices. I add cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground ginger and a touch of nutmeg. You don’t have to add any – or all – of those. On the other hand if you like, and own, a pumpkin pie spice mix, then add a few teaspoonfuls of that. Make it your own.
Start with a bowl with at least a 4 cup capacity. You want something you can sift your dry ingredients into, and then stir them up, without it going all over the place!
Place a sturdy wire sifter into the top and add your ingredients. Try to wait until they are all in there before you sift them through, this will assist with getting them all well-mixed.
Start with 2¼ cups of milk powder.
Next add your spices; about 1½ teaspoons worth.
Next a touch of sugar.
And finally, the cocoa. This can be whatever type of cocoa you like: Cadbury, Dutch process, or whiz-bang, ultra-organic cacao. Whatever.
Now, sift it all together, stirring with a spoon to help the mixing process.
When you’ve finished, it will look a little like this. Mix it up a bit more. You can’t break it.
When it looks like this, pop it into an airtight container until you are ready to use it.
I used some mason jars, because that’s what I had handy.
Give it a good shake once it’s all sealed up tight. Then, place a few tablespoonfuls into a mug, add boiling water and stir well.
Play with the recipe, adding different combinations of spices or more or less sugar. Then put your feet up and enjoy warm hands and a sense of deep satisfaction with your hot chocolate…
Spiced hot chocolate mix
2¼ cups milk powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cardamom
Sift all ingredients together and mix well.
Store in an airtight container.
To serve: Add boiling water to 3 tablespoons of the mix.