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When the weather outside is frightful, a cup of hot cocoa goes a long way

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 11, 2019, 4:47 p.m.

Warm up on a cold winter day with a mug of hot chocolate. (KEN SPENCER / TPN)
Warm up on a cold winter day with a mug of hot chocolate. (KEN SPENCER / TPN)

It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s a perfect time for a cup of hot cocoa.

Sure, you can whip up something premixed from a packet. But with a few simple ingredients, you can make a batch of your own hot cocoa mix to have on hand next time Mother Nature decides to go all ice age on us.

I’ve used this mix recipe from Food Network star Alton Brown for well over a decade. I like to use the Sunrise Baking Cocoa from Euphoria Chocolate Company in Eugene, but will go with the best quality Dutch-process cocoa I can get my hands on. I’ll make a double batch in the fall and have enough to keep my family happy all winter long.

Brown puts a touch of cayenne into this mix for a spicy kick. Opt for cinnamon or nutmeg if those flavors are more to your liking. And because this mix is made with powdered milk, you can just add water to mix up a mug of warm goodness.

Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa Mix

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder

1 teaspoon fine-grain salt

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 pinch (or more to taste) ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Hot milk or water to serve

Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, milk powder, salt, cornstarch and cayenne in a large airtight container. Secure the lid and shake vigorously to combine, and remember to shake prior to every extraction.

To serve: Place 2 tablespoons of the mix in a mug and add about 2 fluid ounces hot water or milk. Stir to combine. Fill the mug with more hot water or milk and enjoy.

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