Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

Easy DIY: Spicy Hot Cocoa Mix

I love hot chocolate on a cold winter's day, and we surely have plenty of those in this part of the country. I am not a fan of the instant cocoa in the packets, though. A couple years ago, I was watching "Everyday Italian" with Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network. She was making a dessert that looked divine called Wicked Hot Chocolate Mousse. It had cayenne pepper mixed in the chocolate and I wanted to try something similar in a hot cocoa.

I've puttered around with some different cocoa recipes and have added in cayenne and this one is a keeper. I make this ahead and keep it in a large glass jar. I have enough to last for many cups over a few week time frame. You can omit the cayenne (if your kids will be drinking it) but this is a delicious grown up treat.

1/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 cup non-fat dry milk
1 cup non-dairy creamer
3/4 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
1 t. vanilla powder (I used Nielsen-Massey; you may omit this)
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (use more or less to suit your tastes)

Combine all ingredients in a large, sealed Ziploc bag and shake thoroughly to combine.

I use 3-4 teaspoons per mug of hot water. Add whipped cream and sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa powder on top.