February 27, 2014


Two Christmases ago, my mother in law gave us a huge tin of Starbucks Hot Cocoa Mix. I’m picky about my hot cocoa, and get especially snobby when people think hot chocolate mix and hot cocoa are the same thing. They. Are. Not. The packets you find near the hot water dispenser at summer camp are way too sweet, and they can be mixed into water. They serve their purpose in warming you up a degree or two during chilly campfire sharings that go late into the night, but… that’s about it. My cup of hot cocoa is one that is mixed into hot milk, offering a warm-you-to-your-toes balance of creamy dark chocolate goodness and just a hint of sweet.

So on New Year’s Eve, I opened it up and gave it a go. Wow, it was delicious. AND I HAD 2.5 POUNDS OF IT!

…But then it ran out. Maybe it’s because we are generous with friends who visit, or maybe I became slightly addicted to it. I asked my mother-in-law where she got it, and she said Costco.


…Except that they no longer carried it. Not awesome. So I turned to trusty ‘ol Amazon, and there it was, with its well-deserved stars! However, even I am not down with paying $45 for a tin of hot cocoa. So the I can make this myself part of me went to work, and I came up with a concoction I love just as much, if not more for the homemade factor.

hot cocoa

In the end, it turned out to be ridiculously simple, as so many of my recipes end up. At the core, it’s three simple ingredients. That’s how I roll.


Hot Cocoa



  1. Heat milk for 1.5 minutes on high in the microwave.
  2. Mix cocoa and sugar together, then stir into milk with a small wire whisk (a spoon will leave you with chunks).
  3. Sip.

Optional: Add a dash of homemade vanilla extract (or Grand Marnier for a hint of orange). If you have an opened can of coconut milk on hand, substitute it in for some of the milk for a rich twist!

Recommended: Top with a dollop of whipped cream for the ultimate comforting sip!


4 responses to “Starbucks Hot Cocoa”

  1. Jenny says:

    mm….looks so yummy! Do you have a brand of cocoa powder that you prefer?

    Another tip that I discovered in my grandma’s pantry is to mix your cocoa powder and sugar in a small glass jar and store it for easy access later. Then you don’t have to mix and measure it each time. My mom said she would even bring it on trips and picnics. 🙂

    • joellen says:

      I just use whatever is available for bulk at Costco 🙂 Yes, I’ve done that, too. I think putting them in little mason jars would make for really cute Christmas presents, too! 🙂

    • joellen says:

      Okay, a few years ago I said I just use whatever cocoa powder is available at Costco. I have an updated answer now: I LOVE the cocoa powder made by Rodelle, which I actually first tried at Costco! It is dark and rich and now I’m spoiled and can’t go back. While my local Costco does not carry it, I order it in bulk online from costco.com.

  2. Serena says:

    I think my family still has one at home…from many months ago! I’ve tried this with soy milk, it’s not too bad! 🙂