Zero Waste Recipe - Hot Cocoa



Are there any two words that have the ability to produce more glee in children than "snow day"?!

We were thrilled to wake up to a heavy blanket of white around our home today. After a playful morning in the snow, my children came running inside with red faces and cold hands with two more words on their lips:

"Hot Cocoa!"

Fortunately, these are ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand. Of course, you can substitute regular milk for a nut milk, or powdered sugar for an alternative sweetener. This is a simple recipe that you can adjust to your liking.


Shopping tips to reduce waste:

Milk and heavy cream can be found in glass containers at some grocery stores. Locally (Seattle area), Whole Foods, Sprouts, Central Market, PCC, and your local food co-op are good options. At the time of purchase, you will pay a deposit for the bottle, which will be refunded when you bring the empty bottle back to the store. Just bring the empty bottle back through the checkout line along with your groceries and the refund will be shown in your bill.

Cocoa Powder can often be found in bulk spice sections. My husband picked this up at the co-op for me a while back. Not having a container with him, he opted to purchase it in a small, paper bag. At home, we emptied it into our own container.

Powdered sugar can easily be made in a blender from granulated sugar, which is commonly sold in bulk bins. Bring your own fabric drawstring bag to purchase.

Vanilla has increased in price since a crop failure several years ago. While I used to be able to purchase it in bulk and with my own container at the food co-op, their supply ran dry for such a long time that I eventually settled for a bottle from Costco. Our family often adds vanilla in small amounts to recipes, so I find that it's super-handy to keep some in a small dropper container to eliminate spills.


To begin, I measure out the milk using the mugs we will be drinking out of. That way, I make exactly the amount of cocoa that we need! The mug shown is about 8-10 ounces.

Three servings = three mug-fulls of milk (milk of your choice, of course.)

Add the milk to a saucepan and begin to heat gently.


For each serving, I add a heaping teaspoon of cocoa, and about a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Whisk with the milk in the saucepan to combine.

When the cocoa has reached the proper temperature, remove from heat and add about 7 drops of vanilla per serving.

That's it!

Meanwhile, get ready to whip up some cream!

We do this by hand... because why not?! It's fun and doesn't take long. Pour some cold, heavy cream into a bowl (we use a stainless bowl for easier whipping, but don't find chilling to bowl to be necessary).


Start whipping with a balloon whisk (the large size of the whisk will help to incorporate more air). As the cream begins to thicken nicely, add some powdered sugar to sweeten. A little goes a long way. Additionally, add a dash of vanilla.


Perfect! This whipped cream is just right -- not too stiff. Nice work, kiddos!



A stainless tea ball works perfectly to sift cocoa over the whipped cream.

Seriously simple, homemade cocoa for this brisk, snowy day. Enjoy!


Simply Homemade Hot Cocoa

10 oz milk

1.5 tsp cocoa

1 tsp powdered sugar

dash of vanilla (7 drops)

Vanilla Whipped Cream

1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 tsp Powdered Sugar

1/8 tsp vanilla


#kids #zerowasterecipes #glutenfree #reducingwaste #food

copyright 2019 Intentionalism

As a mother, wife, homeschooler, and advocate for sustainable living, I share simple tips for reducing waste, simplifying your life, and growing food.

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