This quick and easy Single-Serving Hot Cocoa recipe delivers a steamy mug that’s richer and more luxurious than cocoa from a packet.
Las winter, when my kids were actually going to school in person, I often made them hot cocoa on especially chilly afternoons to warm them up after they walked home from school.
While it may be true that we don’t have legitimately cold weather here in the sunny San Francisco Bay Area, I’m the first to admit that we’ve become weather wimps.
Since my daughters’ school days ended at different times, I started mixing up a Single-Serving Hot Cocoa version that’s ready in minutes.
This warm, comforting recipe hits the spot on a cold afternoon, and it’s richer and more luxurious than cocoa from a packet.
Best of all, it’s super easy to prepare!
How to Make Single-Serving Hot Cocoa
If you’ve got sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, milk, and vanilla extract, you have everything you need to make a perfectly satisfying, soul-warming mug of cocoa!
Measure the cocoa, sugar, and salt into a small saucepan, ideally one with a pour spout. Whisk to combine and add the water, mixing until the ingredients combine smoothly.
Warm the pan over medium heat, whisking until the cocoa-sugar mixture comes to a boil. This step turns the cocoa and sugar into an intense chocolate syrup that imparts an incredible flavor that you just can’t get from a prepared mix.
Continue whisking vigorously over the heat for one minute as the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly.
Pour in the milk and whisk well over medium heat until the cocoa reaches your desired drinking temperature. Be sure to stop before the cocoa comes to boil.
Off heat, stir in vanilla extract and serve.
This rich, flavorful cocoa is always a welcome afternoon treat, but it makes a great addition to breakfast, too.
Topped with whipped cream or marshmallows, it’s especially satisfying. Little cookies look adorable nestled into generous mounds of whipped cream, which makes it hard to resist adding additional sweets to this already indulgent experience.
While you’re at it, don’t forget the sprinkles!
I came up with this recipe as an after school treat for my daughters, but things feel decidedly different this year.
I’m pretty sure there are days when my kids never actually leave the house, so they’re not exactly in need of a warm beverage to take the chill off their rosy cheeks.
They still love hot cocoa, though, and this single-serving recipe is one that they can make on their own whenever they have a hankering.
Single-Serving Hot Cocoa
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- whipped cream
- small cookies
- Whisk together cocoa powder, granulated sugar, and salt in a small saucepan.
- Add water and whisk until the dry ingredients come together in a smooth paste.
- Warm the pan over medium heat, whisking, until it comes to a boil. Let the mixture boil for one minute, continuing to whisk as it bubbles and thickens slightly.
- Pour in the milk and warm the cocoa to the desired temperature, making sure to remove from heat before it comes to a boil.
- Off heat, stir in vanilla extract and serve. Top as desired.
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