Cold outside? Looking for comfort in a cup? Stir up a batch of Malted Hot Chocolate Mix recipe, reminiscent of a chocolate malt, but perfect for those cold days and nights. Featuring malted milk powder, cinnamon, and ground cayenne pepper, this hot cocoa mix just bursts with flavor.
Start the day right with Petit Dejeuner and a cup of chocolat chaud. Or serve your hot cocoa alongside a plate of Cocoa Brownies and Chocolate Mint Bars for a loaded chocolate dessert.
You’ve heard the saying before: necessity is the mother of invention. It is so true. And necessity spurned this hot chocolate recipe.
Not only were we out of traditional hot chocolate mix, but I also did not have enough powdered milk to follow an Alton Brown recipe I found online. So, I improvised.
That’s code for: I used whatever I could find in the cupboards.
A big part of the Good Cheap Eats System is to shop your kitchen first and use what you have. In this instance, it resulted in a recipe that I now make on purpose. Often throughout the fall and winter months.
Why Make This
It’s a delicious mash-up of chocolate malt and hot cocoa. The malted milk powder and the spices combine with the chocolate for a delicious hot treat. Top it with whipped cream or marshmallows if you like.
It’s a good cheap eat! Commercial hot chocolate mixes can get pretty pricey, especially if they have a gourmet bent to them. This Hot Chocolate Mix is a more affordable option.
Here’s what you need for this Malted Hot Chocolate Mix:
powdered milk – This is also called dry milk powder. Typically it’s available in the baking or coffee aisle of the grocery store.
powdered sugar – The easy dilution factor of powdered sugar makes this an ideal sweetener for hot chocolate mix. Remember you can make powdered sugar if you run out.
unsweetened cocoa powder – Use whatever brand you like. Some say Dutch process is the best tasting. Try a few different kinds to see what you like best.
malted milk powder – There aren’t too many brands available. This is technically optional for hot chocolate mix but for the malted flavor, it’s a must.
cornstarch – This thickens the hot chocolate a bit so it’s not super watery.
salt – Salt offsets the sweetness and brings out the chocolatey flavor.
warm spices – I like to use ground cinnamon and ground cayenne pepper, but you can also use ground ginger, nutmeg, or turmeric.
Since many of the ingredients in malted hot cocoa mix can get lumpy, I recommend that you sift the powdered sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and spices to remove lumps. Dry milk powder is often made of large granules that won’t go through a sifter, so you may need to whisk that in at the end.
Sifting will stir up some dust, but it’s worth the effort to have a smooth, easy-to-dissolve cocoa mix. Alternatively, you can whisk all the ingredients together.
- Measure out the ingredients.
- Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and spices to a sifter.
- Sift the ingredients into a large bowl.
- Whisk in the milk powder.
- Store the cocoa mix in an airtight container.
To serve: Scoop 2 tablespoons of the mix in a mug. Stir in a bit of hot water and stir to dissolve the mix. Add more water, stirring to combine. Serve hot.
Malted milk powder is made from malted barley, wheat, and dried milk. It lends a malty flavor to beverages, such as milk shakes, and to baked goods, such as cookies.
Malt powder is slightly different. It is made from wheat and barley. It doesn’t contain milk, but is instead an ingredient in malted milk powder. Malt powder is used in baking, particularly in bagels to give them a distinctive flavor. For this recipe I recommend that you buy malted milk powder because it’s easier to find. Carnation is the brand I typically see.
If you prefer, you can omit the malted milk powder and simply add more powdered milk. It won’t have the same flavor, but it will still be delicious.
Adding the hot cocoa mix straight into hot coffee is a great way to make a simple mocha!
Once you’ve prepared your hot cocoa from the mix, you can stir in any number of flavorings or toppings: marshmallows, whipped cream, be sure to try chocolate whipped cream, flavored syrups—like caramel, almond, or hazelnut, liqueurs—such as Kahlua, Irish cream, or whisky.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- powdered sugar – $0.24
- powdered milk – $0.32
- unsweetened cocoa powder – $1.28
- malted milk powder – $0.94
- cornstarch – $0.02
- salt – $0.02
- spices – $0.05
While your prices may vary depending on where you shop, you can expect to pay somewhere around $2.87 for a batch or 7 cents/serving!
More Chocolate Desserts
Tell us what you think!
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Malted Hot Chocolate Mix
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cup powdered milk
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup malted milk powder
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch ground cayenne pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the ingredients until evenly mixed. Store in an airtight container.
- To serve: place 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the cocoa mix in a 6-ounce mug. Add water. Stir to combine. Serve hot.
This post was originally published on October 19, 2011. It has been updated for content and clarity.
This was very delicious. Excellent with milk as hot chocolate and yummy when I put a bit in my coffee.
Hmmm…This recipe would be excellent for gifting indeed!
what is and where can I find malted milk powder?
Why use cornstarch and cayenne?
I am a total newb when it comes to cooking, baking and such.
Sorry if its a silly question.
I found the malted milk powder with the canned and powdered milks at Walmart. It’s just dry milk. The cornstarch acts as a thickener. The cayenne just gives it an interesting flavor, but you can omit it if you want or if you don’t have it. No question is silly.
Did you use nonfat dry milk? Some commenters regarding Alton Brown’s recipe recommended dry whole milk from the Mexican foods section at the grocery store.
@KS, I used an organic dry milk powder that I bought from Amazon. I’m trying to eliminate the hormones.
Any suggestions for what to use instead of the malt powder? Hubby isn’t a fan, but he loves hot chocolate!
@Elizabeth, oh, just use more powdered milk.
After I left the comment I realized the substitution was kind of a no-brainer. 🙂 I am going to put together cute packages of these for Christmas gifts!! Thanks for the idea!
I think this would make great DIY Christmas gifts. I’m definitely adding this recipe to my list of gifts this year.
Carrie @ My Favorite Finds
I have always wanted to make my own cocoa mix. I will try this! Thank you!
Everyone is welcome to link to my Must Try Mondays, too.
Even better than the cocoa recipe was the backdrop for your photos! Where were they taken?
@angie, we went to Mammoth Lakes, CA for our vacation last week. It was beautiful!
I’ve been meaning to make homemade hot cocoa mix forever. You’ve given me the inspiration finally! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
This sounds really good-going to try it 🙂
Love it! We go through a lot of cocoa mix this time of year and this looks delicious.