Although we just call it hot cocoa in our house, I’ve been having trouble on what to call this drink for the blog — sipping chocolate? Nah, that’s something that invokes visions of the finest quality chocolate, maybe sprinkled with fleur de sel. There’s nothing pretentious about these ingredients, you likely already have them stocked in your kitchen. Drinking hot cocoa? Sipping hot cocoa? Hot chocolate pudding? Hot cocoa pudding? I’ve decided to go with hot cocoa pudding because it’s not quite pudding and not quite hot cocoa. It’s somewhere in between, with the taste and texture of a melted chocolate bar. Take a sip of it and pat yourself on the back — you’re an adult and you can drink melted chocolate bars whenever you want.
Just before adding milk.
Inspired by sahlab, the beloved wintertime drink of the Middle East made with milk and salep, I set out to make hot cocoa with the same thick texture. It’s now my go-to recipe for hot cocoa, perfect for warming back up after spending time outside in the cold.
Hot Cocoa Pudding
1 cup water
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2-3 tablespoons sugar, adjust according to taste
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add the water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Whisk until combined in smooth. Use a wooden spoon with a flat end to scrape the bottom of the sauce pan. Keep whisking and stirring (I usually have the whisk in my left hand and the spoon in the right) until thickened and lightly bubbling. Add the milk a bit at a time, constantly stirring until fully incorporated. Continue stirring until hot. Stir in vanilla. Pour into cups and serve.