Recipe for Italian-Style Hot Cocoa


1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water


Mix in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once this mixture comes to a boil, add 2 cups of liquid (water, brewed coffee, skim milk; the author recommended a cup of water and skim milk each) and stir over heat until heated through and mixed.

This produces a thick, quite rich brew, not for children, but highly chocolate-concentrated. Clearly, it's pretty much just empty calories, but not that much of them, and the fat is only what comes in your cocoa. Of course, the New Yorker article claimed that the flavor varies greatly with the brand of cocoa powder that you use--he recommended some Italian varieties that I've been unable to find--but he found that basic Hershey's was more than adequate.

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