January 05, 2013


Hot cocoa made rich with sweetened condensed milk and served with whipped cream. It is warmth and comfort in a cup.

hot cocoa with sweetened condensed milk, dollop of whip cream, brown round cookies
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It’s only the beginning of winter. During a typical year, my backyard will look like this for the next four months…no kidding. There is well over a foot of snow on the ground in this picture.

As luck would have it, my yard is always the last on the street to defrost from the winter freeze. It will have large patches of snow and ice long after the neighbors’ have disappeared. There have been years where there were no visible signs of grass until the end of April!!

I spend as little time as possible outdoors during this time of year. I swear, apart from the blood sucking thing, the immortality thing, the superhuman strength and speed thing, and the turning pearlescent in the sun thing, I could be a vampire. I too have no body heat!

When I am chilled to the bone, a nice cup of hot cocoa thaws me out, if only momentarily. Sigh…

My twist on hot cocoa involves the usage of sweetened condensed milk as a sweetener. It adds a special richness and flavor to the drink. For a special touch, it is topped off with a drizzle of more sweetened condensed milk. Don’t skip this step as it adds a distinctive layer of flavor. 

Believe me, you would not want to drink it any other way!

Update: I find that room temperature sweetened condensed milk sinks too quickly to the bottom of the cup. It is better used cold to top off the cocoa just before drinking. The cold, thick milk sinks more slowly.

top view of a cup of cocoa and on plate with cookies



1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup water
4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk + extra to drizzle into drink
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 scant tsp. instant coffee (regular or decaf)
whipped cream (optional)

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add water, cocoa, coffee, and sugar. Use a wire whisk to blend smooth. Allow to come to a gentle boil (reduce heat if needed) for a couple minutes to thoroughly dissolve solids. Use a rubber spatula to constantly stir bottom and sides of pan to prevent sticking.  

Add milk and sweetened condensed milk, whisking until smooth. Heat through. Do not boil.
Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Note: The coffee highlights the chocolate flavor. It does not make the cocoa taste like coffee.

Serve with a drizzle (1 teaspoon) of sweetened condensed milk. Top with whipped cream, optional.
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