Creamy classic French cocoa, handed down with piles of love straight from Grandma! Make a big batch and store in the fridge, and the most delicious homemade hot cocoa becomes so easy to make on-demand!
This is a recipe I am so grateful to have inherited from my mother-in-law, and now to share with you!
Like many families, we have one of those very traditional, simple, spiral-bound family cookbooks that includes many of the recipes my husband grew up eating. Let me assure you, that thing is battered and splattered and loved in my own modern kitchen today. And, of all the recipes in it, few speak to my heart like this classic French cocoa mix.
You see, my husband enjoyed a pretty idyllic childhood in Montana, where long, cold winters were an absolute given. I have in my mind’s eye this charming vision of him and his siblings stumbling in from the cold, stamping out the snow and ice from their boots, and rushing into the kitchen to be greeted with a steaming mug of their mother’s hot cocoa.
Now, who knows whether and how frequently this scene unfolded so blissfully in real life, but for whatever reason, I have grown oddly attached to the idea of it in my own head. And so, of course, I really really look forward to recreating it – you know, in a few years, when I live someplace with a proper snowfall and have a child old enough to be trusted with a hot beverage. Little things. 🙂
[clickToTweet tweet=”Chilly nights? Nothing will warm things up like a batch of Grandma’s classic French cocoa!” quote=”Chilly nights? Nothing will warm things up like a batch of Grandma’s classic French cocoa!”]
How To Make and Store Classic French Cocoa Mix
Fortunately, I needn’t wait for that exact scene to be a possibility in order to enjoy the centerpiece of it – this killer hot cocoa!
What I really love about this cocoa – besides the taste – is how simple it is to make and store in the fridge. Basically, you will melt and sweeten chocolate on the stovetop, then mix with a bit of whipped cream. This forms a sort of cocoa base, which can be stored in the fridge for 7-10 days.
Then, whenever you want a mug of cocoa, just spoon a generous tablespoon of the base – or two, if it’s for my hubby or your own resident chocoholic – into the bottom of your mug. Top off with milk that’s been warmed in the microwave or on the stove, give it a good stir, and you’re all set!
The fact that it yields an unbelievably rich, creamy, frothy hot cocoa is just icing on the cake. 🙂
One final note – how this originally came to be coined “French cocoa” is a mystery to me. I have Googled it, and can’t really ascertain any link between this method of preparation and anything particularly French.
Moreover, to be honest, having sampled quite a few hot chocolates around France and Belgium (#expatproblems) I have to say that I strongly prefer this recipe! I don’t personally favor the super thick, almost syrup-y, hot cocoas you sometimes find from chocolate shops and the like. This recipe is strong on the chocolate, but very drinkable, as well – perfect for curling up by the fire or sipping with family around the table!
So, why exactly it’s “French” cocoa remains elusive to me, but that’s what Grandma Mary calls it, and that’s plenty good enough for me! 😉
Grandma's Classic French Cocoa
- 2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) unsweetened chocolate
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream
- hot milk for serving
- In a small saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate and water, stirring frequently until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Add sugar and salt; stir well.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 4 minutes, then set aside and let mixture cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. When chocolate mixture has cooled, fold in the whipped cream, then store in the fridge.
- When ready to serve, place 1-2 heaping tablespoons of the cocoa mixture in each mug, and top with steaming milk. Stir well and top with marshmallows if desired.
- The hot cocoa mix will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
- Nutrition info is an estimate based on dividing the mix into 12 servings, and combining each with 1 cup of hot milk per mug.