Nov 24, 2012

Old Fashioned Hot Chocolate

ready for the marshmallows!

This is the hot chocolate I grew up with. We called it cocoa. On cold days, my mom would get out her Revere Ware pot with the copper bottom and simmer up a batch of this for us. We always popped a big marshmallow or two into the cup. The big ones lasted a long time, and every sip had a little bit of melty marshmallow swirled in. If the marshmallow wasn't melting quickly enough, you could dunk it with your spoon to help it along.

Old Fashioned Hot Chocolate
Makes 2 servings

3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup cocoa
scant 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
very scant 1/8 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, scald milk (see note, below). Turn heat to low, and whisk in the cocoa, sugar, and salt. When well combined, stir in vanilla. Adjust to taste. Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows. Some people like to put the marshmallows in first, and then pour the hot chocolate in. 

You can add all sorts of things to this recipe. Some people like cinnamon, or peppermint, or even a little brandy stirred in. You could use dark cocoa if you like.

Note: Scalded milk is an important flavor and aroma element in old fashioned hot chocolate. I do it in a pan on the stove. I haven't been able to get the same results in the microwave. Scalding milk is bringing it just to the edge of a boil. The edges will bubble, and the milk will have steam rising off the top of it. 

In "How to Scald Milk", Holly Quinn notes: "Occasionally, especially if you like trying out old-fashioned recipes, you may come across "scalded milk" in the list of ingredients. This isn't an item that can be purchased already prepared, like evaporated milk; it's made with a fairly simple process of heating the milk just to the edge of boiling.
Scalding milk is not necessary for health reasons as it was in the olden days, when it was done primarily to destroy bacteria. Today's modern pasteurization takes care of that. But scalded milk can make a slight difference in the taste and texture of baked items and custards--if you haven't quite been able to copy one of grandma's recipes on the nose, scalded milk could be what's missing."

12 comments:

  1. Oh, how wonderful! I've been looking for a good hot chocolate recipe. I miss the 'cocoa' I had at my grandmother's house so many years ago... And thank you for the info about scalded milk- very helpful! :-D

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  2. Thank you for stopping by- I'm so glad you enjoyed remembering your Grandmother's cocoa!

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  3. It's taken me a week to figure out how to leave a comment -- but what a great blog! Love that cocoa!

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  4. I'm sorry you had trouble leaving a comment, but I'm so glad you did! :) It turned colder today- just right for the hot chocolate! ;)

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  5. mmm you can't go wrong with homemade hot cocoa - SO much better than store-bought.

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  6. Thanks so much for stopping by, Sally! :)

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  7. I love your initial description of the hot chocolate you grew up with. You have a real knack for creating the "warm fuzzies" with your descriptions. You draw us into the memory!

    Ah, the hot chocolate made in a pan. I haven't made that in a long time. Maybe I should try that again soon! Thanks for your recipe.

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    1. Hi, Linda! It's certainly been the right weather for hot chocolate, hasn't it? :) Thank you for the compliment about my description of a childhood memory!

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  8. Mmm, sounds yummy! Thanks for the tip about scalding!

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    1. Thanks, Jocelyn, and thanks for the visit- I appreciate it! :)

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  9. You can use lower fat Milks my grandma had her Gallbladder removed so she only had skim milk in her home she then added 1 teaspoon butter to each cup milk for 1 Tablespoon butter for 3 cups skim milk. The butter IS necessary for 2% or 1% milk as the Chocolate won't mix into low fat milk without ADDED FAT.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your Grandma's tip! I bet she was a good cook. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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