At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

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I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Family Favorites - December 2019: Hot Cocoa (Soy, Fish, Nut, Wheat and Egg-Free, Can Be Milk-Free)

I decided to keep posting a family favorite recipe from the blog (with any adaptions that we use regularly, if applicable) on the fourth Friday or Saturday of every month this year.  This recipe will be one that we make quite often and that we all enjoy greatly.  This post is the twelfth and final Family Favorites recipe of 2019.

If you have a recipe on your blog that you consider a family favorite that you'd like to share, please comment below with a link to the recipe, and I'll make sure to pop on over and visit your site to check it out (and leave a comment), and hopefully some of my other readers will, too.

This month's Family Favorite recipe is Hot Cocoa.  This is essentially my original Hot Cocoa recipe with a few more variations mixed in.

This recipe is a family favorite because it is so easy {Only 4 or 5 ingredients!} and delicious, and because it is the perfect {indulgent} way to warm yourself up on a cold, wintry day.  It is also free from soy, fish, nut, wheat and egg (if all your ingredients are), and can be milk-free (see variations).  What's not to love?  Once you've made your own hot cocoa, you'll never buy store bought again!

Hot Cocoa

4 1/2 Cups milk (divided)
(We always use whole milk, but you can use whatever you have on hand.)

1/2 Cup white sugar
(We always use cane sugar.)

1/2 Cup cocoa powder (baking kind)

1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
(We always use the salt, and normally just the 1/8 teaspoon.)

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
(We almost always use McCormick brand, and generally the 1/2 teaspoon.)

1. Simmer 1/2 Cup of the milk, sugar, cocoa powder and salt (if using) in a medium saucepan over low-medium to medium heat, stirring constantly (preferably with a whisk), until all the lumps are dissolved (about 3 minutes). (Note: It is best to stir the dry ingredients together first THEN add the milk, giving it a good stir to get it all well-blended BEFORE turning on the burner.  Also, I highly recommend adding at least a pinch of salt as it enhances the flavor, but you can definitely leave it out, if you wish.)

2. Add the remaining milk to the saucepan, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a simmer (about 5 minutes). (Note: You are trying to get the milk hot, not boiling.  Once the milk is to the temperature you like it - just warm or very hot - it is ready.)

3. Remove the cocoa from heat and stir in the vanilla just before serving.  (Note:  The amount of vanilla you use is based on personal preference.)

This recipe yields five 8 oz. (1 Cup) servings.
Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using variations!):
  • Milk-Free: Use a dairy-free milk of choice for the regular milk.  If you use a top 8 free milk (like certain types of rice, hemp or coconut milk), you can have a top 8 free cocoa!
  • Other Flavors: If you want say a peppermint flavor, you can substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla extract.  You could also use almond extract, strawberry extract, coconut extract - any flavor you like with chocolate that fits your dietary needs.  You could also use a combination of extracts, but I would not use more than 3/4 to 1 teaspoon total between them.
  • Topping Ideas:  If you desire to top your cocoa, you can top it with whipped cream, cinnamon, marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, chocolate shavings, caramel sauce, crushed candy cane - any topping you like that fits your dietary needs that you like.  The possibilities are endless!

I hope you will give this recipe a try soon and that it becomes a family favorite for you, too!

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