This recipe was originally based on the one on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa powder container. I think their recipe is unnecessarily complicated (though not as complicated as some hot chocolate recipes). This version is chocolatey, just sweet enough and versatile.
To make – heat 4 cups of milk (any type) on medium heat. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Whisk while heating. At first, the cocoa powder will sit on top of the milk but as it heats, the powder will become incorporated. Add 1 teaspoon flavoring (or to taste). For just plain ole cocoa, add vanilla. But don’t hesitate to experiment. My family has tried orange, lemon, mint, almond and other flavorings and loved them all.
One thing I love about this recipe is I can easily make it into an instant/travel version. To do that you need the equivalent of 4 cups of milk in powder form. Our current brand of powdered milk calls for 2/3 of a cup for each quart (1 quart = 4 cups). So using that brand our instant cocoa would need 2/3 cup powdered milk, 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup sugar. Often I make a vanilla or flavored sugar for instant cocoa.
To make the instant cocoa – add the entire amount to 4 cups of water (or just a bit less if you want it more rich). Heat over medium heat, whisking until all mixed in. See easy.
We’ve been known to take an instant batch with us when camping because it’s so easy to make. You can also skip the milk powder and buy a quart of shelf stable boxed milk (we find it at the Dollar Tree).
If your family finds it’s not sweet enough, you can add up to 1/4 cup more sugar. We started with the 1/2 cup of sugar and slowly cut back. We find that 1/4 cup is plenty sweet now.
The best part about this is that it takes moments to make. We can have hot chocolate for breakfast with toast (oh, this reheats beautifully if you find that there is leftover cocoa) or for an evening snack.
4 cups milk
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat milk on medium heat. Mix in sugar and cocoa powder with whisk. Continue to whisk until all ingredients are incorporated and the milk is very warm (do not let it come to a boil). Remove from heat and add vanilla. Serves 4 (or 3 large cups).