Hot Chocolate, Hot Cocoa or Spicy Mocha?

by Michelle on February 12, 2010

When I was growing up my Dad made me Hot Cocoa and Toast every morning for breakfast. And still today every once in a while I crave Hot Cocoa. We’re having another very hard winter, with bitter cold temperatures and way too much snow and ice. Hot Cocoa is such an under utilized comfort food and with more snow predicted for this weekend, I thought it would be perfect for our Valentine’s Day Brunch.

The Hot Cocoa recipe was inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Spicy Mocha. I say inspired because when I wanted to make Giada’s recipe, of course, I was short on the proper ingredients. So I used what I had on hand and substituted this and that and the end result was incredibly wonderful. And since we have the most wonderful local dairy, Oberweis, which has the best creamy, ultra thick 2% Chocolate Milk, I used Chocolate Milk as my base. A few weeks later, I made the recipe exactly as per Giada’s original recipe. Honestly and with no disrespect to Giada, I think my recipe is better.

And I’m from Michigan and we drink Cocoa not Mocha or Hot Chocolate. :)

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Michelle’s Hot Cocoa
Recipe developed from what I had on hand at the time

4-5 cups chocolate milk, use a good brand that is thick and creamy
1/2 tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I use Penzeys Vietnamese Extra Fancy)
1 heaping TBL instant espresso powder

Topping: Whipped Cream and Sprinkles

Heat chocolate milk in a small sauce pan. Add hot paprika, cinnamon and espresso powder and thoroughly whisk until well blended. Pour Hot Cocoa into thick mugs and top with whipped cream and sprinkles. Enjoy!!

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Comments

  • görel February 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Hot cocoa wuth paprika, I would never have thought of that! Must try though!

  • Allie and Pattie February 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Well, Allie loves hot cocoa but this looks like grown-up decadence. I might just make myself some this morning-it’s the coldest Carolina winter since we’ve moved here!
    xoxo Pattie

  • Kat February 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    This will be a long remembered winter in the Eastern half of the country, for sure. We are looking for snow here in the deep south, (as they say.) We have already had more snow this winter than usual. I love it, but not sure I would love it if I were in your shoes this winter. February is a long winter month to be so short! I remember the Ohio winters in February! The Hot Chocolate looks great and very comforting. Stay warm.

  • Lori E February 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Now I know what I am warming up with this weekend. If my son tastes it he will be making it morning noon and night.

  • kat February 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    What interesting ingredients, sounds good. I always thought hot cocoa & hot chocolate were the same thing, chocolate & milk but mocha meant it has coffee or espresso mixed with it like this recipe.

  • Cheryl B. February 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Michelle 😀 I am working on a posting about you ;-} Seeings how making it involves lots of scrolling, it might be awhile before it leaves the draft file and actually becomes a posting…

    I like the handle shape on your red mug!! Looks easy to hold onto.

    I couldn’t believe it when you mentioned Oberweis dairy. My daughter-in-love is in training as an assistant manager at one 😀 I had never even heard of the company before she joined our family. Every time son #3 visits them, he MUST have a half gallon of that choc. milk all for himself!!!!

    I chuckled when I read that you add cinnamon to your hot choclate. Why? Several years back I had made up gift baskets for a bunch of friends. In them I had included jars of a tea mix which you can make as hot or iced tea, as well as a jar of hot chocolate mix. And due to reading about it numerous places, I had added cinnamon to the mix.

    That winter was an excessivly cold one, and Brian had gone through the packets of hot choc. he had taken to work, so he asked if he could take one of my ‘extra’ jars of mix. Sure.

    A few days later he brought it back home, inquiring if perhaps the bottle he had taken had been one left over from a much earlier batch last year or something … it’s just not right … it’s like it’s gone rancid or something … if I didn’t know better I’d say it taste like it has cinnamon in it … The look on my face must have given it away, because he started back peddling, and stammering, and I was tearry eyed embarrased …. we use the “who would put cinnamon in this” line often!!!

    Us Michiganders know things can be honestly good with out having to be all razzeled dazzled or foofooed o;-p

  • The Quintessential Magpie February 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Gosh, that sounds good, Michelle! And anything would be wonderful stirred with that gorgeous antique spoon! Is that an old Whiting pattern? It looks like it could be. I’m a Whiting nut!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

  • Rambling Tart February 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Oh, I’m delighted by this. :-) Can’t wait for my next stormy day to make it!

  • teresa February 12, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    so perfect and warming, i love it!

  • The Cooking Ninja February 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Nice improvisation :) Sometimes I don’t have some spices or other ingredient in my pantry, I improvise and most of the time it turned out fantastic. :) Living abroad has taught me to improvise a lot with food.

  • Michelle February 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Sheila,

    The spoon is actually a tiny long handled ladle and I’m not sure what it’s for but I always use it in my Hot Cocoa..love using my silver! I’ve had it forever and not sure where I picked it up but probably in a box of mixed old silver pieces at a flea market.

    It’s only marked “sterling” with no other marks for ID.

    Michelle

  • Michelle February 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Cheryl,

    LOL..looking forward to the posting. Wondering what all the scrolling is about! :))

    The Amore mug’s handle is actually a heart. I bought it for my husband for Valentine’s Day several years ago and he actually does use he mug!

    Michell

  • Fresh Local and Best February 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Hungarian paprika?! Sounds delicious, and something great to keep me warm through the winter.

  • petra February 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    beautiful pictures!

  • Absentminded Oracle February 12, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    I tried it… delicious.. thank you so very much.

  • Megan February 12, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I could have used one of those last week, when it was super cold here.

    Today, it’s 64 degrees.

    Don’t hate me.

  • Joanne February 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I am super intrigued by that paprika. I definitely don’t use it enough but I am all up for spicing up my cocoa!

  • Kim February 12, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    You really spiced it up with the cinnamon and the paprika. It looks gorgeous with those cute little heart sprinkles. I think this is something we could all enjoy while we spend the next week hibernating from the snow!
    I was too busy drinking Prosecco this week to make any bread, but I’ll be back for the next challenge.

  • kudoskookies February 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful idea for hot cocoa. I think I’ll have to try it right away. Thanks for posting. Also love your pictures with the heart sprinkles on top. Very festive.

  • Kathleen February 13, 2010 at 4:20 am

    That looks delicious..perfect for all this #$%$# snow we are having!

  • Cristie February 13, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Oh, I had no idea you are from Michigan! We’ll have to talk. Your chocolate looks so inviting, especially with the weather so cold out.

  • theUngourmet February 13, 2010 at 6:43 am

    What sweet memories of your dad.

    Wonderful cocoa recipe. The sprinkles are perfect for Valentine’s Day! :)

    Hope things warm up over your way very soon!

  • Jessica February 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Ohmigosh…I love versions of hot chocolate, especially grown up ones. This sounds delish!!

  • biz319 February 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Nothing better than hot chocolate and buttered toast! Love it!

    At least the sun is shining today Michelle!

  • Urban Breadmachine February 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    This looks yummy, can you make me some? Guess I’ll have to resort to my own pantry. Oh and I love the red mug to.

    I didn’t realize you were from Michigan, I went to school in Toledo so regularly boarder hopped. :)Today down here in the ATL we have 4 inches of snow, feels like home.

  • Erica February 14, 2010 at 1:24 am

    I love that picture!Paprika sounds interesting…. I have to try that one :)

  • Kayte February 14, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    It looks pretty, especially the sprinkles on the top!

  • Mimi February 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Paprika in hot cocoa, sounds to interesting not to try.
    Mimi

  • Sophie February 16, 2010 at 8:44 am

    MMMMMM,….Michelle! Your spiced hot cocoa looks very appetizing, my dear!

    Lovely picture too!

  • megan February 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Omy, what great looking pictures. I just want to snuggle in and have a cup! I would have never thought to use paprika.

  • George Gaston February 17, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    A cup of this cocoa would taste really good about now. Despite the sunny day, it is very chilly due to the wind. Your cocoa recipe sounds delicious…

  • Danielle February 18, 2010 at 4:17 am

    look how cute! love the sprinkles! Soo…is there a difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? 😉

  • Anonymous February 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I always say “Hot cocoa” instead of “hot chocolate”, too. Cocoa just sounds better. I am pretty sure there is a real difference between the two, as well. I haven’t used paprika in my cocoa, but I have used cayenne pepper. NICE finish when you’re swallowing, although you don’t really detect it when it’s in your mouth!!

    I’d love a recipe for Dark hot cocoa. I’ve tried searching the web for such a thing, but I haven’t found anything just right, yet. Sometimes regular hot cocoa is just way too sweet. I’ve tried just lowering the sugar, but something’s still not quite right. As a general rule, I use the cocoa recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa can.

    Any thoughts on a Dark chocolate recipe?

    Lynn

  • Michelle February 23, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Lynn,

    Make the Hot Cocoa as per my recipe and try adding some finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate. I would start with abt 2 oz of semi-sweet chocolate for every 2 cups of milk.

  • […] I made the small batch of Marshmallow Fondant which was more then enough for what I needed. If you’ve never made this before I would highly recommend just making the small batch to begin with and then work up to the larger batch. And last year I bought the Snowflake Plunger Fondant Cutters, knowing full well that eventually I would have to make my own Marshmallow Snowflakes! I’m adding the Snowflake Plunger Fondant Cutters to my Gadgets that Work because each size worked out very well, even the smallest one and they were super easy to use.  I served the Marshmallow Snowflakes with my Spicy Hot Chocolate […]

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