Hot chocolate. There is no need for explanation. Anyone who has ever had from-scratch, non-packet based hot chocolate will tell you that nothing comes close to its magic on a cold day. Marshmallows vs. whip cream is a personal choice as long as the hot chocolate itself is great.
I decided to skip the complicated steps and create a microwave only hot chocolate recipe for convenience’s sake. For microwave use, technique is just as important as the ingredients and to be completely honest, most recipes on the back of cocoa powder containers aren’t the most technically or scientifically sound. These recipes commonly tell you to heat the milk then pour the milk into the cocoa powder. This method will produce hot chocolate, but it will be clumpy and the cocoa powder will not be well incorporated. Why? Because cocoa powder is a starch, so it behaves like a starch.
Starches don’t dissolve, so cocoa powder doesn’t dissolve. Instead, starches undergo gelatinization. When the cocoa powder mixture reaches a certain heat (gelatinzation begins between 140°F- 160°F and is completed between 190°F and 194°F), the cocoa powder granule will swell with liquid and the starch molecules making up the cocoa powder will leak into the liquid. This continues, ideally, until the cocoa powder starches are all separated and incorporated into the liquid medium.
Based on this, the best way to make microwave hot chocolate is to add the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk to one cup then heat in the microwave until boiling. It’s an even simpler approach than the box recipes and yields much better results. I like to utilize melted chocolate as well to incorporate cocoa butter into the mix.
1 tbs of cocoa powder
1 ½ tbs of sugar (or to taste)
2 tbs of semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup of milk
1 tbs of heavy cream (optional)
Pinch of salt
- In a microwavable mug, melt the semisweet chocolate. (Heat the chocolate for 30 seconds, stir the chocolate, and then heat in 10 second intervals, stirring between each heating, until the chocolate melts.)
- Remove the mug from the microwave, then add cocoa powder, salt and sugar to the chocolate and stir.
- Add the milk and heavy cream to the cocoa powder mixture.
- Microwave for 1 minute then stir the mixture.
- Microwave for 1 more minute or until almost boiling.
- Remove from microwave and stir. Top with marshmallows or whip cream, if desired.