After two weeks of vacationing in Hawaii, it was time to fly back to Kodiak, Alaska. Six hours in the air. My butt hurt. As the jet neared the end of the runway however, the pilot apparently didn’t like what he saw, or couldn’t see. He banked left over the Coast Guard base and climbed out of the fog to re-enter the land of pink and yellow sunrises. A missed approach.
After circling for 20 minutes, we landed. It was 7:30 AM and our eyes burned with sleepiness. We grabbed our backpacks and large box of Lion Coffee and Dole pineapples, and shuffled across the icy parking lot and drove home, counting dozens of bald eagles along the way.
Time to unpack. Zzzzip, plunk. A tube of sunscreen tumbles to the floor. Our clothes smelled sweet and tropical. Marty started a fire in the wood stove to take off the chill. Hot chocolate would help so I headed to the pantry…
I hobbled this recipe for hot spiced cocoa mix from several that I found online and in cookbooks. Over the winter I tweaked it with cardamom and other spices to come up with a recipe that I’m happy with; one that doesn’t lump up and is not too sweet. Feel free to play with it, adding or subtracting ingredients to fit your own palate. No recipe is sacred.
Spiced Hot Cocoa Mix
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1-1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process is best, but use what you have)
- 2-1/2 c powdered milk
- 1/2 c powdered vanilla flavored coffee creamer (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Orange peel, grated or zested
Measure all ingredients except orange peel in a large, sealable container. Shake, rotate, whatever it takes to combine everything. To drink, put 2 rounded tablespoons in a mug and add some hot water. Add a little orange zest, stir well, and top off with more water. Makes 6 cups of cocoa mix, enough to share with friends.
Meanwhile, back in the laundry room, in the process of emptying pockets of coins, receipts, and granola wrappers from our last road trip to Oahu’s North Shore, I sprinkled beach sand all over the tile floor. I stopped to take a long breath. It was good to be home, feeling warm on the outside, thanks to my suntan; and warm on the inside, thanks to a tasty cup of hot cocoa.