Hot Cocoa – Mama’s Brew

At first I was going to write an introduction to the whole history of cocoa/chocolate – just spouting off a bunch of internet facts and myths all jumbled together. Dry  – boring and not at all personal. This recipe is personal.

Growing up I can remember coming home from school on those cold rainy days, and Mom had a cup of hot cocoa waiting. Milk was warmed in a pot, Nestles powder added and there ya go – everyday hot cocoa. Add mini marshmallows and you were in kiddie-heaven, all warm to your toes. That was every-day cocoa.

Twice each year, Mom made a hot cup of chocolate that was thick – with the consistency of runny pudding. It was slow-brewed on the stove top, needing attention so that the milk neither scalded nor boiled. This thick drink was served on Halloween night, upon our return from trick or treating. It was a diversion from our bags. We would plop down at the table, all warm and cozy in the kitchen and Mom would pour each of us a cup of her thick brew. We would wrap our hands around the warm cup, forgetting all about that heavy sack of  sweets. The candy was dumped into a giant jar and over the next several weeks our combined haul was carefully dispensed, avoiding the whole sugar coma thing on Halloween night. No ordinary cup of hot cocoa would do as a fitting distraction.

The only other time I can recall Mom’s rich, thick hot cocoa being served was when the neighbors came calling at Christmas time, singing songs of the season. Mom had her brew ready (usually a double or triple batch) and served it up in Styrofoam cups. Often our house was the last stop of the night. Cocoa, and big  plates of Dad’s home-baked cookies. A spontaneous party – those are often the best kind.

Nothing brings back those sweet childhood memories like a cup of Mama’s Brew. This recipe is a combination of Mom and Dad. In the Philippines, canned milk – evaporated – was common. Dad grew up on cow’s milk – as in fresh from the cow.

Hot Cocoa – Mama’s Brew
4 Cups of Milk
3 Large Cans of Evaporated Milk
1/2 Cup Coco Powder (unsweetened)
Sugar to taste, about 6-8 tablespoons
Mini-Marshmallows, if desired

Place milk, evaporated milk and ½ cup coco powder into a large saucepan. Whisk until well blended. Taste for chocolate consistency (it will be somewhat bitter until the sugar is added). If more chocolate flavor is desired, add more – about ¼ cup at a time.

Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until desired “sweetness” is reached. Place over low heat, stirring occasionally until it is hot and has thickened to the consistency of runny pudding. Pour into small coffee cups and top with mini-marshmallows, if desired.

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