New additions to our bedtime routine:
Fans switched off
Extra T-shirt layer for me and a sweater for the kid
Snuggling my feet into fluffy night socks
That's Bangalore nights for you these days (and early mornings too!). This morning at 8, the car dashboard read 15°C. Brrrr!
Hey, I'm not complaining, just gloating over my friends from Bombay.
For someone who was born and brought up in a winter-deprived Bombay, without a single sweater in my wardrobe, any winter is welcome. It's such a comforting feeling to snuggle inside the duvet and making sure not even a finger is exposed to the chill in the room. I can feel the Delhi readers and others from the colder climes scoffing at me here, but trust me, for someone from Bombay, even this chill is a lot to get excited about!
After putting the kid to bed, I like to make myself a big mug of hot chocolate and catch up on the reading from all my bookmarked sites. But many a times, at the end of a tiring day, I am plain lazy to even mix up the ingredients for a hot chocolate in my mug.
When I spotted sachets of Choco Mocha, Hot chocolate etc in my neighbourhood supermarket in the other day, I picked up one for such bedtime cravings. The ingredients on the pack were dead simple, and of course, being a commercially sold product, the first ingredient was sugar and cocoa was listed as 1%.
This inspired me to make a bottle of my own Mochaccino (or call it cafe mocha or hot chocolate mocha or anything else you please) mix--so whenever the desire strikes, just add hot water, stir and it's ready--a steaming hot mug of chocolate and coffee, with hints of cinnamon, and hey, we have well over 1% cocoa here! Where chocolate is concerned, more is less, always.
The best hot chocolate mix I have tried is the one from Vosges that the husband had got me from one of his NYC trips--and this was the Aztec Elixir--with added chili to it and it was divine! In fact, we had a pact that we will have it only when both are at home, so one doesn't finish off the good stuff on their own.
Coming back to this homemade mix, it uses regular ingredients from your kitchen. All you need to do is measure out, mix, put into a nice glass jar, label it and you're all set to face hot chocolate cravings. You do have to heat a mug of water though! You can spike it with your liquor of choice, a sprinkle of chilli powder or nutmeg, or a marshmallow, or just have it plain.
These also make the perfect edible gifts. Wrap up a pretty ribbon around the bottle and add instructions on the label. I can't think of anyone who wont be excited to receive this, especially in winters.
DIY Homemade Hot Chocolate Mocha Mix
Makes over 2 cups of mix
Enough for 16-18 cups of Chocolate Mocha or Mochaccino
1.5 cups milk powder (also called powdered milk or dried milk)*
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon (optional)
You'll need a large mixing bowl, measuring cups, a whisk or fork and a bottle with a lid. Ensure everything is thoroughly clean and dry.
In the mixing bowl, measure out all the ingredients. With your (dry) finger tips gently break any lumps and mix well and then do the final mixing with a whisk or a fork.
You can also add in one cup of castor sugar to the mix, but I leave it out, so that each cup can be sweetened as per taste--or if someone wants to add a sugar substitute, they can do so while making a cup.
To make a mug of chocolate mocha or mochaccino, add two heaped tablespoons of the mix in a mug. Bring a cup of water to boil, add to the mug with constant stirring until the mix is dissolved. Sweeten with a tsp of sugar or sweetener of choice. You can also make this with milk or half and half (half milk-half cream) for a more decadent drink.
If you are more of an iced coffee fan, check out the video of my favourite (super simple) Vietnamese Iced Coffee.
*Difference between milk powder, evaporated milk and condensed milk:
You may wonder, as I have in the past, if there is a difference between milk powder, dried milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk.
Milk powder and dried milk are essentially the same thing.
Evaporated milk is actually liquid in consistency, thicker than regular milk. According to Wiki, "It is fresh homogenised milk from which 60% of the water has been removed. The process involves the evaporation of about half the water from the milk, after which the product is homogenised, canned, and sterilised".
Condensed milk also has 60% water removed but has added sugar, while evaporated milk does not have sugar. Sugar prevents the growth of microorganisms in condensed milk which is why it has a long shelf life.