If you're wondering how to make hot cocoa better without spending a ton of money, you're not alone. A lot of us rely on bargain hot cocoa powder to save cash during the colder months, but this powder is often lumpy or clumpy. Ever finished a cup of hot chocolate only to see a sad pile of mush at the bottom? Luckily, you don't have to shell out your whole wallet just to make better hot chocolate for your family; all you have to do is follow the best expert tips on how to improve cheap hot cocoa mix.
How to Make Hot Cocoa Better
- Don't try to mix the entire beverage all at once. According to the American Chemical Society (ACS), a lot of hot cocoa fans make the mistake of pouring an entire cup's worth of water into the whole cocoa mix in one sitting. Instead, the ACS recommends pouring just a little bit of liquid into the mix at first and then slowly adding more to incorporate the whole mix thoroughly. That way, you can make sure it's nice and smooth.
- Try using milk as the liquid for your mix instead of water. According to ACS, milk is a much better solvent for starches and fats — which is what makes up the majority of bargain hot cocoa mixes — than water. Plus, we all know that good milk makes everything a little bit creamier and dreamier, which is exactly what you need on a chilly day.
- Choose your mug wisely. It sounds wild, but a study has actually shown that people tend to prefer hot chocolate served in orange or cream-colored cups as opposed to white or red ones — even though it's the same drink. "The color of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes, like taste and aroma," said study author Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, in a press release.
- Add a tablespoon of peanut butter or other nut butter. For an enhanced flavor experience, heat up some creamy nut butter and incorporate it into your mix. We'd be hard-pressed to find a more iconic flavor duo than chocolate and peanut butter — so why miss out on that opportunity with hot cocoa?
- Get spicy. Try sprinkling a cocoa-friendly spice on top of your beverage, such as cinnamon, allspice, or ginger. If you can take the heat, chile powder can also add a next-level boost of spice to your drink. And let's just say it'll definitely help warm you up faster!
After you finish creating your gourmet homemade cup, the only thing left to do is add some fluffy marshmallows or whipped cream. We know of few sweet drinks that can't be improved with that!