Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hot cocoa, the way it used to be

Dear Big Train,

I've been a huge fan of your hot cocoa, which used to be made with sugar, milk, and cocoa. I was extremely disappointed when you changed the ingredients to add maltodextrin, salt, carrageenan, natural flavor, guar gum, and xantham gum. Adding those ingredients means that many people with food allergies, including my wife, can no longer drink your hot cocoa.

When your ingredients list was simpler, I served your hot cocoa to friends, gave boxes of it away, and praised your product to anyone who would listen. I no longer do that, and I wish I could. I hope you'll consider going back to the simpler recipe, and I hope you'll let me know if and when you do, so that I can go back to buying cases of your hot cocoa.

P.S. I'm posting this here because your e-mail addresses won't accept this e-mail, claiming that it's spam. I'm hoping you have a Google Alert set for Big Train.

P.P.S. Does anyone know of a hot cocoa mix that is still made with just sugar, milk, and cocoa powder? I really liked having a hot cocoa that didn't require keeping milk on hand.


fran said...

Can Lisa manage non-dairy creamer? There are lots of recipes for making your own hot chocolate mix online but most of them require that. Or chocolate chips which I don't know if she can manage either.

This one is by Tyler Florence and isn't quite instant...:

# 3/4 cup powdered milk
# 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
# 3/4 cup sugar
# 1/2 cup cocoa powder
# 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Take the bittersweet chocolate and roughly chop it up to give a chunky but consistent size. Mix well with a wooden spoon and then store in a dry airtight container. To make the hot chocolate, simply add 1 cup of water per 1/2 cup of hot cocoa mix. Heat in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat until hot, but do not boil, about 6 to 7 minutes.

ruthling said...

Alton Brown suggests making your own mix:


I bet you could leave out the cornstarch (there may be some in the powdered sugar too). He says it keeps.

Michael said...

Non-dairy creamer is out. But making our own mix hadn't occurred to me, and seems like a darn good idea. Thank you! Adjusting the sweetness shouldn't be too hard; the key will be getting the powdered milk right.

Antony said...

I used to make my own hot cocoa mix back in Ithaca - just sugar, powdered milk, and cocoa powder (I don't remember the proportions I used, though). As for making sure they see your letter, rather than relying on Google Alert, why not print it out and snail-mail it to them?

Michael said...

Does snail-mail still exist? With envelopes and stamps and everything? That honestly had not occurred to me.