Pure Cocoa Hot Chocolate

Pure Cocoa Hot Chocolate

Sweet, bitter or white, hot chocolate is the ultimate hug in a mug. It is warm, luxurious and, most importantly, contains a rather popular stimulant about which you may or may not have heard. Personally, a rich and bitter hot chocolate appeals to my inner desires, so for this recipe pure (100%) cocoa paste seemed in order. Though the recipe includes both milk and sugar – two of three fundamental parts of milk chocolate – pure cocoa helps lift this rendition above the attempts of most cafés. Indeed, insipidity reigns supreme in the world of hot chocolate – time to turn things around.

Pure Cocoa Hot Chocolate

Cocoa solid was first used as far back as c.1100 BC. However, it is believed to have come into widespread use around a millennium later at which time it came to form an important part of Mayan spiritual events – both as an offering and as a drink. It was not until the Nineteenth Century that the process of emulsification was unearthed and chocolate became solid, signifying the invention of the modern day chocolate bar. Of course, this recipe is about as authentic as fake tan – sugar and milk were ingredients unknown to the Ancient Mesoamericans – but it’s still gratifying to return in some way to the bitter roots of drinking chocolate.

Local connection: It can be a little tricky to find 100% cocoa paste, but root around in local delis and I’m sure you’ll stumble across it sooner rather than later. Indeed, I picked mine up from Arch House Deli in Clifton, Bristol – one of my favourite establishments, anywhere. However, if you really can’t find any pure cocoa, 100g of 70-80% chocolate should yield similar results.

Pure Cocoa Hot Chocolate {recipe}

Makes 2


• 450ml whole milk

• 70g cocoa paste (100%)

• 15g salted butter

• A pinch of salt

• 1-2 tsp light muscovado sugar


1. Heat half the milk gently in a pan, bring to a simmer. Grate in the chocolate and stir along with the butter and salt. Tip in the remaining milk and bring back to a simmer. It’ll be very bitter at this point so add 1-2 tsp of sugar to taste. Whisk it to a froth and serve immediately.

Cost: 100% cocoa paste is pretty expensive – my lump of 160g cost around £3.50. However, it goes so far that this really isn’t particularly problematic. A chunk of that size is enough for 4-5 hot chocolates. Two of these little delights should set one back no more than £2.20 – the price of one hot chocolate from a café!

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71 comments on “Pure Cocoa Hot Chocolate

  1. Eva Taylor
    March 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Have you considered adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or cinnamon? It really makes it out of this world!

    • Decorum DIYer
      March 3, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      We always add cayeene pepper! Soooo good!

      • Decorum DIYer
        March 3, 2013 at 8:02 pm

        Sorry, *cayenne*.

      • Admin
        March 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm

        I’ll be exploring other flavours soon 😀

    • anelim
      March 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      or ginger!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      I often do, but wanted to go simple for the first variation 😀

  2. acrusteaten
    March 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    You’ve inspired me. After dinner tonight, it’ll be proper hot chocolate ahoy!

  3. Randy Goldberg (@DrGaellon)
    March 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    What exactly do you mean by 100% cocoa paste? I can get high-quality unsweetened chocolate, which is 100% cocoa solids in cocoa butter, fairly easily.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Then cocoa paste you have found.

  4. Donna Mitchell-Moniak
    March 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    A man after my own heart! I love your recipes, even if only in idea form, but just as much is truly appreciate your writing. Thank you for being articulate as well as good with food.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks so much! I love it when people read an appreciate what I write!

  5. Sue/the view from great island
    March 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    You’ve got me so intrigued, I have to go track down some cocoa paste… I like my chocolate as pure as it can get, so this is right up my alley!

  6. narf77
    March 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    What I really love about this recipe is that you can adapt it so easily. I, personally, love a kick of spice and would mix some homemade chai concentrate into the equation but the problem that I have is sourcing the cocoa paste or as Mr Randy says 100% cocoa solids in cocoa butter (neither of which occur naturally on trees in the greater Launceston area in Tasmania 😉 ). I dare say it would be in every corner deli on mainland Australia but we have to work that little bit harder for our degustatory delights here in Tasmania (the farthest flung outpost in the South…sigh…). I can veganise this recipe by using a nice thick nut milk and our sugar is vegan here in Australia (for once we come out on the top in vegan stakes! 😉 ). Another feather in your cap Mr Frugal…you are starting to look like a Mardi Gras Peacock! 😉

    • brisvegasvego
      March 6, 2013 at 7:04 am

      Hi Narf! Up here in Bris, we have a vegan grocery store called the Green Edge. I won’t post a link in case wordpress thinks I’m spamming, but it’s very easy to Google, they deliver everywhere in Australia and they have an 85% and 87% chocolate. Not quite 100% but you can be assured that everything in the store is vegan at a minimum, plus lots of fairtrade and organic products. I love them for tricky ingredients.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Absolutely, Fran! I’ll soon be doing flavour variations too – can’t wait!

  7. Fiona
    March 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Great post. I always make my hot chocolate with proper chocolate. So much better than the powdered stuff. I am also an Arch House Deli fan! Are you a Bristol lad?

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Well – I’m originally Welsh, but I went to uni in Bristol and currently live in Bedminster!

  8. Fiona
    March 3, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    PS I don’t ever add butter but maybe I should try it.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm


  9. Eric
    March 3, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    That looks amazing. Especially on a cold winter day with snow on the ground.

  10. yachna
    March 3, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    OOOooo Lala! The image is killer!!

  11. thepaddingtonfoodie
    March 3, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Is there anything more decadent than Valhrona? My favourite.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      It is VERY good.

  12. movita beaucoup
    March 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    There is nothing like a “real” hot chocolate. Sometimes, if it’s very snowy and we’ve all struggled to get into school in the morning, our chef instructor will raid the pastry kitchens for their glorious chocolate and whip us up a hot drink. Nothing beats it!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      You’re quite right! That’s nice of him 😀

  13. daisy | daisysworld.net
    March 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Kahlua at the ready, Frugal!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      YES! An idea for the future!

  14. cecilia
    March 4, 2013 at 1:06 am

    oh my that sounds just divine..c

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Cheers, Cecilia!

  15. Economies of Kale
    March 4, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Yum, this sounds amazing 🙂 I love the idea of butter in hot chocolate. I’ll have to try and source some cocoa paste, but I think good-quality dark chocolate would be easier to find.

    I agree that hot chocolates from cafes are insipid and I’ve stopped drinking them because they are just not worth $4-5.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Yes, it would be easier! I quite agree, coffee is the only way for me.

  16. The Starving Artist
    March 4, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Never thought to put butter in my hot cocoa… I like it! Also super good with mint!

  17. Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen)
    March 4, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I needed that photo shot of pure chocolate comfort in a mug. Sounds rich and sinful with the butter.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Not too sinful though 😀

  18. hookedontaste
    March 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

    That looks so velvety and rich. I’m dreaming that I have this cup of cocoa in my hand and sipping it. I can only dream, right?

    I’ve never thought of using butter in cocoa. I bet Paula Deen is so proud.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Or, you could make it 😀

  19. saucygander
    March 4, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Yum! I like my chocolate dark and bitter, and sometimes with a pinch of chilli or cinnamon. This sounds perfect.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      I often add chilli, I’ll be exploring more flavours soon!

  20. Susan
    March 4, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Salted butter is an unusual addition. What do you find it adds to the cocoa?

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      I certain luxuriousness…

  21. kimsimard
    March 4, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I always ground up some cardamon with a hint of cinnamon. Yummy!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      Lovely idea – I will be exploring flavours in the future.

  22. TammyeHoney
    March 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    The wonderful thing about cocoa paste is that it is corn free and peanut free so those with allergies can enjoy. I use Belgium Chocolate for mine with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon and it is so good. With my corn allergy I can enjoy a few pleasures I used to have to give up. Thank you for sharing. I wish there was a recipe converter I could find that would help to American weights. I am slowly collecting them.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      Ah – a good point! I have links to conversion tables on my blog!

  23. thelittleloaf
    March 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    That looks like some seriously good hot chocolate. I don’t drink a lot of hot drinks, so when I do I want them to be the best!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Hehe – thanks :D. Exactly, though I do drink a fair deal of coffee.

  24. Somer
    March 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Ah, so this is how you ended up grating your fingers eh? I’d say it was well worth it. Gotta source some cocoa paste!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      It is indeed – though I’m all but healed!

  25. paulapia1
    March 4, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I tried this recipe and it is delicious, although I sweetened mine with yacon root powder and added cayenne pepper also. Divine!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Sounds lovely 😀 Thanks

  26. annesturetucker
    March 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Hug in a mug for sure! Absolutely beautiful 🙂

  27. Marie @ MyMomThoughts
    March 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I love hot chocolate!! We use muscavado suggar for special treats. I’m anxious to try this out.

  28. baconbiscuit212
    March 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Love the idea of using cocoa paste. Looks wonderful, Frugal!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Cheer, Ms Biscuit!

  29. alfievenner
    March 4, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Great intro to this post, I found myself drawn into it from my reader page as if I had no choice in the matter!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      But, you didn’t 😀

  30. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    March 4, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    How fabulously decadent! Yum!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      Oh yes, Amanda – you know it!

  31. Stephanie
    March 5, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Oooh, buttery and bittersweet… sounds fabulous!!!

  32. Jodye @ Chocolate and Chou Fleur
    March 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    There really is nothing better than a good cup of hot chocolate in the snow, and we’re supposed to get a foot of snow tonight. I do believe I’ll be making myself a cup (or three) of this decadent drink! I think coconut oil in place of the butter will make a nice flavor contribution, too!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      You are, of course, correct! Good idea.

  33. denise and sandy
    March 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

    yum. can’t wait to try it.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      I hope you do 😀

  34. J. King
    March 12, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Aha! Now this I’m gonna try soon!!

  35. Sabeen
    March 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Yum! That made me want a hot chocolate straight away, perfect for the upcoming winter 🙂

  36. Amy
    March 24, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Oh my looks so good.

  37. trixpin
    April 1, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I made something like this the other day but used 100% cocoa powder, with a little sugar, a pinch of salt and whole milk – divine! And as you say, it’s so far from the “insipid” stuff served everywhere these days.
    I’ve not seen cocoa paste, but I’m guessing Willie’s Cacao – sold all over – would work nicely too?

    • frugalfeeding
      April 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Great! It’s so nice using proper ingredients. I’ve never heard of that, but I’m sure it would be fine!

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