Budget Bytes

24 October 2012

aztec cocoa

$0.34 per cup
I made an impulse buy the other day... one of those little packets of Mexican hot cocoa mix. I constantly crave hot cocoa this time of year and I've always wanted to try Mexican hot cocoa. In the back of my mind I knew nothing good could come of this little packet of powder, but something in me wanted to believe that it would be yummy. Anyway, it was less than impressive, much less. As usual, I thought, "I could do this better!"

My version, although unbelievably simple, truly WOW-ed me. Seriously. I know you're supposed to use really high quality cocoa and high quality spices for this, but I just used my run of the mill pantry basics and got a really rich cocoa with a nice earthy kick. I don't think I can ever go back to plain cocoa.

The cinnamon adds a depth and earthiness that regular cocoa doesn't have and the brown sugar makes it just a bit more rich (thank you, molasses). The pinch of cayenne provided just the right amount of burn in the back of my throat to make me giggle with glee. This stuff is awesome.

Just a fair warning - the spices do not totally dissolve in milk because, well, they're not dissolvable. So, there will be some sediment on the bottom of your mug. If you're a French press coffee drinker, this will not bother you.

Aztec Cocoa
Why "Aztec" cocoa? I dunno, I just wanted something catchy.

Aztec Cocoa

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Total Recipe cost: $0.34
Servings Per Recipe: 1 (8 oz.) mug
Prep time: 5 min.

INGREDIENTS COST
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder $0.04
1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02
1/16 tsp cayenne pepper $0.01
8 oz. milk (2% fat or higher) $0.25
TOTAL $0.24

STEP 1: Heat the milk until hot, but not boiling. (I microwaved for about 1.5 - 2 minutes).

STEP 2: Once the milk is hot, whisk in the rest of the ingredients (cocoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper). Drink. Be happy.


Want to make a bunch of the mix to give as a gift? Here are the quantities to make 2 cups of cocoa mix:
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Use 2 tablespoons of cocoa mix per 8 ounces of hot milk.


Aztec Cocoa

Step By Step Photos


cocoa, sugar, spices
This is all that is needed to take cocoa from "yum" to "warm fuzzies all over": unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. To measure the cayenne pepper, I just filled my 1/8th tsp measuring spoon half way. If you're sensitive to spices, try just a pinch of cayenne first... a pinch would probably be like 1/32. Of course, that's just a guess.

aztec cocoa mix
You don't have to mix the spices and sugar together before adding them to the milk, but I did this so you could see what it would look like if you made a big batch. It will still be a little lumpy because of the moisture in the brown sugar.

aztec cocoa
Stir the mix (about 2 tablespoons) into 8 ounces of hot milk. The cocoa and sugar will dissolve in, but the spices will kind of sink to the bottom. I swirled my cup as I drank to keep things floating around.

Aztec Cocoa
Can you say "YUM"? Whipped cream isn't necessary, but why not?

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44 Comments:

  • At October 24, 2012 at 6:58 PM , Blogger merrymayo said...

    so yummy!

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 7:03 PM , Blogger Kenzie said...

    Do you mean the large batch makes 2 GALLoNs, not cups? Sounds good, I'm making this tonight!

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 7:06 PM , Blogger Beth M said...

    Kenzie - It makes 2 cups of the *mix*... to which you'll need to add milk. 2 cups of the mix should make about a gallon of hot cocoa, though :)

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 7:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    my roommate made this last night, but totally "on accident" (we just guessed the spices and it's exactly what you have)! MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE IS SO GOOD. you should try Mexican spiced cupcakes.... you're welcome.

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 8:06 PM , Anonymous Claudine said...

    An easy way around the spicy sediment is to place a dried chile into the milk while you're heating it. Mix everything and let it sit for just a few minutes, then remove the chile. You can also use a piece of Mexican cinnamon the same way.

    I make this a lot. Well, too often.

    I also did these seasonings in truffles. Mmmmmm.

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 8:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I just made this now. My life has changed. I cannot return to packet cocoa. Thank you :')

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 8:40 PM , Anonymous Jsoi said...

    LOVEE!!! Can't wait to try. Your blog is my FAVORITE!

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 9:34 PM , Blogger Suzie Q said...

    I love hot cocoa, this looks absolutely delightful! I must try it =)

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com
    Breil Necklace GIVEAWAY

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 9:39 PM , Blogger Gail's Card Cafe' said...

    Oh... My... Gosh! that sounds amazing!

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 9:43 PM , Blogger Heidi said...

    How many mL is 8 ounces?

     
  • At October 24, 2012 at 10:44 PM , Anonymous Elizabeth said...

    Would it be a problem if I were to use skim milk? (Since your ingredients specify 2% or more)

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 1:17 AM , OpenID tompkinsxx said...

    Oooh this is delicious. I'm glad you're posting this in October, because I plan to enjoy it all winter long :)

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 5:29 AM , Blogger Beth M said...

    Elizabeth - I suggest 2% because I think you need a little fat in there to help the flavor and body, but technically it would still work with skim :)

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 5:31 AM , Blogger Beth M said...

    Heidi - 8 ounces is approximately 250 mL.

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 6:57 AM , Blogger norteamericoyajr said...

    Why not boil the milk? When I make hot cocoa, I always bring the milk to a boil, to me it always tastes better than simply heated milk. Is it a matter of personal preferences, or is there something in this combo that makes boiling the milk bad?

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 9:48 AM , Blogger Beth M said...

    It's easy to scortch the milk if it comes to a boil, that's all :)

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM , Blogger _sugarmountain said...

    Agh. My cocoa craving just skyrocketed. I've been trying to stir in a dollop of caramel sauce to the Swiss Miss packet-cocoa, but it always leaves me wanting.

    THIS though...this I could get used to :D yum.

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 2:34 PM , Blogger montuos said...

    Ooh! This would be the perfect thing to use up my cone of piloncillo!

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 10:23 PM , Anonymous Beth (@RunTraveler) said...

    That sounds AWESOME.
    I'm drooling... and walking to the kitchen to make some.
    *drooling*

     
  • At October 25, 2012 at 10:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Can you use coconut milk or almond milk for this?

     
  • At October 26, 2012 at 5:28 AM , Blogger Beth M said...

    Anonymous - I haven't tried it with coconut or almond milk, so if you do, let us know how it is!

     
  • At October 26, 2012 at 9:34 AM , Anonymous sarah k @ the pajama chef said...

    homemade cocoa is sooo good. this version sounds fab!

     
  • At October 26, 2012 at 9:38 AM , Anonymous Emily said...

    It works with soy milk! :)

     
  • At October 26, 2012 at 9:30 PM , OpenID sironasprings said...

    OMG, so good! I know what I'll be giving away for the holidays this year! The only thing I would suggest is just the tiniest dash of salt; it really brings out the cocoa flavor. Thanks for sharing this!

     
  • At October 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I remember watching a clip on youtube once for Jacques Torres, known for some pretty amazing hot chocolate, he suggests boiling it, then adding the chocolate and then boiling a second time saying that boiling the milk a second time is the secret to making the milk incredibly thick. It seems to work for me, never had it scorch. just don't walk away from it tho if you can avoid it :)

     
  • At October 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    http://www.howdini.com/howdini-video-6677099.html

    Here is the link to the Jacques Torres video. He also mentions using at least a 2% milk too

     
  • At October 26, 2012 at 11:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    One of my favorite add ins is peanut butter, gives it a lil more yumminess if your a PB & chocolate fan

     
  • At October 27, 2012 at 12:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I made this tonight. Hooray for cold weather that lets us drink yummy stuff like this!

    -maia

     
  • At October 27, 2012 at 8:39 AM , Blogger Elizabeth said...

    Very good! For two servings, I mixed the dry ingredients in a saucepan, added about 2 T hot water, and heated while stirring with a whisk until smooth. Then added the milk and heated. Not as easy as the microwave, but makes a smoother cocoa. I make lots of your recipes and really enjoy your blog! Thanks!

     
  • At October 27, 2012 at 1:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Super tasty ...no weird artificial sugar taste ... I used skim milk and whisked it all over low eat on the stovetop :)

     
  • At October 28, 2012 at 10:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This was so good! I may try upping the cocoa powder by about a teaspoon or so because it wasn't chocolatey enough for me but I am definitely going to mix up a batch of the mix to have all winter long and to give as holiday gifts for my coworkers and friends!

     
  • At October 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM , Blogger AKing said...

    Definitely going to try this! BTW, the Aztecs introduced cacao to the Europeans and the rest of the Americas (although they drank it in an unsweetened state) so I think your name totally works!

     
  • At October 28, 2012 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Carrie said...

    I make this all the time. I never feel even slightly tempted by storebought hot chocolate mix anymore! I like to make mine super strong and rich, more of a sipping chocolate than a drinking chocolate. I use about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to about 3/4 cup of milk. A dash of salt really accentuates the flavours. I always heat the milk *before* adding the cocoa powder, because I find cocoa burns easily. One of those battery-operated milk frothers makes the perfect tool for whisking the cocoa smoothly into the milk. For the silkiest, richest, most indulgent-tasting cup of hot cocoa ever, use coconut milk (the drinking kind, not the cooking kind). It is outrageously delicious.

     
  • At October 29, 2012 at 7:26 AM , Blogger Tammy said...

    I'm going to try this mix! I've been making my own hot chocolate and in order to help reduce the piling up of ingredients on the bottom of the cup, I put the dry ingredients in a saucepan, whisk a drop or two of oil into the cocoa mix, and then add my milk. Everything goes in one pan so it isn't quite as convenient as microwaving, but it helps all the ingredients stay incorporated. And if you look on those little packets, they all have hydrogenated oils in them, so a drop of oil makes sense (totally undetectable in the hot chocolate too!)

     
  • At October 31, 2012 at 8:20 PM , Blogger Allison Rose said...

    Absolutely perfect.

     
  • At November 6, 2012 at 2:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i've been enjoying this so much! was just looking at the quick pudding recipe, and thinking of sort of using the same spice combo...thoughts?!

     
  • At November 6, 2012 at 2:19 PM , Blogger Beth M said...

    My thought is that it would be AWESOME. :D

     
  • At November 14, 2012 at 7:23 PM , Blogger Melissa @ Melissa's Bookshelf said...

    I don't know what I would do without your blog and all these great new recipes to try. I am totally making a cup of this tonight, it sounds amazing! I have been wanting a way to use up some unsweetened cocoa and this will be perfect. THANK YOU!!!!!

     
  • At November 15, 2012 at 3:46 PM , Blogger Body Secrets By Britt said...

    I am SOOOOOOO trying this!

     
  • At November 18, 2012 at 7:07 AM , Blogger Clarity said...

    I'm going to try taking this one step further and mix in powdered milk. Sounds like it would make a great gift.

     
  • At December 17, 2012 at 1:07 AM , Blogger lumenatrix said...

    I made this tonight with Almond milk and it was AMAZING, and really, not significantly harder or more time consuming than using a packet plus it tasted 100% better. I am sold.

     
  • At December 28, 2012 at 6:57 PM , Blogger Deirdra said...

    Excellent! Just made some and probably the only hot cocoa our house will drink!

     
  • At April 7, 2013 at 9:02 PM , Blogger Erica Brock said...

    I wonder if this would be good with a couple of shots of espresso?

     
  • At April 7, 2013 at 9:08 PM , Blogger Beth M said...

    Erica - Mmmm, great idea!

     

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