One year I decided to make homemade hot cocoa mix* to give to all the neighbors for Christmas. I had used it many times to make individual cups and absolutely loved it. It was made with various ingredients which included powdered sugar.
A few days after Christmas I found myself in the company of a half a dozen frozen neighborhood kids and thought I’d whip them up some hot cocoa with all the mix I still had on-hand. Not wanting to fool with microwaving six individual cups, I decided to throw it all in a saucepan and heat up a big batch on the stove.
This turned out to be a mistake. I forgot the mix had powdered sugar in it. Powdered sugar has cornstarch in it. When you boil liquid with cornstarch it thickens. I ended up with a big pot of loose pudding and a bunch of disappointed little people.
This year I decided to come up with a big batch recipe for hot cocoa. I think this would be absolutely precious to serve with a “hot cocoa bar” with all the possible trimmings: peppermint sticks, marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, crushed peppermint candies, toffee bits, mini chocolate chips, peppermint schnapps, Irish cream and anything else you can think of!
Making this in a slow cooker allows you a way to keep it warm without worrying about it scorching or burning but you can absolutely make this on the stove if you prefer.
Crock Pot Hot Cocoa
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-4 cups whole milk*
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Add cocoa to a cold crock pot. Whisk in 3 cups of milk until well combined. You always want to add wet to dry (instead of dry to wet) to prevent clumping. Add sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt and mix well. Heat on high until simmering then add milk to taste*. Return to a simmer then reduce to “keep warm” or low for serving.
*I make this with only 3 cups of milk because I love a super-rich, luxurious hot cocoa but Husband likes it better made with more milk. Start with 3 cups then add milk to taste.
Makes 8-10 servings. Double recipe if you’re making this for a party or bigger crowd. Store leftovers in the fridge up to one week then reheat in the microwave.
*I used this yummy recipe from Brown Eyed Baker for the homemade dry mix I mentioned in the story above.