Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix

I've been following American Idol this year. While the show and its contestants certainly have their ups and downs, I can't help but enjoy watching the stars emerge and the trains wreck. Perhaps the worst of it is that after watching an episode, I tend to get a false perception of my own singing ability. For a few (too many) moments, I actually believe that I can sing.

I can't sing.

My singing voice is reminiscent of the sounds of an angry cat. There is screeching, hissing, and a good chance you'll want to cover your ears. Oh, she's just being modest, you're probably thinking. No one is actually that bad. When I was younger, my mother would ask me to stop making "that noise."

I wish I could tell you I'm being modest.

My singing is limited to the car, with the windows up and the radio loud. In the privacy of my metal cage, there is no one to judge me. No one to cringe when I'm out of tune or in the wrong key. No one to wince when I fall flat trying to hit the big notes.

Alone in the car, I am Celine Dion. I am Madonna. I have the voice of Stevie Nicks and the vocals of Freddie Mercury. I can sing the blissful melodies of Ella Fitzgerald and the pop hits of Lady Gaga. My range knows no bounds. In those few short moments, I can sing.

I don't have to sing for you, my family, or my friends. I sing for myself. And that's good enough for me.

This Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix is smooth, rich, and oh so creamy. The cocoa has deep chocolate tones and the cinnamon gives it just the right amount of spice. Though I made mine with water, you could easily make this with milk but be sure to anticipate a truly creamy drink. Feel free to top it with whipped cream or marshmallows, but this drink doesn't need the toppings to stand out. The cocoa would satisfy even the purist of hot cocoa drinkers. This mix can be stored in your cupboards for months and months to be enjoyed whenever you need your hot cocoa fix.

Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix

Adapted from Alton Brown

2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Hot water or milk

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa, powdered milk, salt, and cinnamon. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To make cocoa, fill a mug half full of hot cocoa mix. Heat water or milk to boiling and pour into glass to the top. Stir to dissolve with a spoon. Add marshmallows or a pinch of cinnamon to top it off.

Serve hot (but don't burn your tongue)!