Chai Spiced Cocoa 1

I spent the weekend huddled in at home…it’s been in the 40s here in LA.  That’s a serious chill for us Angelenos.   And besides, I got my car in for servicing late Friday, forgetting that I’d be without a car for several days over a pretty critical weekend when I should be out getting ‘things’ done.   So I decided to get all zen about it and make the best of my house arrest.  I went for a full on PJ chic, I cranked up the heat, did a little bit of online shopping, and experimented with some serious comfort food.  Like this Chai Cocoa.

Chai Spiced Cocoa close

I love cocoa, but sometimes it can be cloyingly sweet and after a few sips I’ve had enough.  These warm Indian spices make it a more sophisticated experience, and I happily traded in my morning coffee for a big mug of it.   I used all the spices you normally find in Chai tea, and subbed in a rich thick cocoa for the tea.  It gives hot cocoa a whole new lease on life, and I think it would be THE perfect thing to keep warm in a crock pot for a winter brunch.  I particularly like this idea because, while I love the spices in chai tea, I don’t love black tea.  This gives me those warm exotic flavors in a base of thick chocolate.  Win win.

Chai Spiced Cocoa

Yield: serves 4

Chai Spiced Cocoa

What You Will Need

  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 4 Tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in 2 pieces
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 3 thin slices fresh ginger
  • a used vanilla bean (optional but delicious)


  1. Pour the milk into a saucepan and put over low heat.
  2. Mix the cocoa, sugar, and cornstarch with a little water to make a loose paste. Pour the paste into the milk and stir or whisk to combine.
  3. Add the whole spices and let the cocoa slowly heat until it just comes to a simmer. The longer you let it steep, the stronger the spice flavor will be.
  4. Strain into large mugs and serve with whipped cream. Garnish with a star anise if you like.

Chai Spiced Cocoa 2

Here’s to a productive week!

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3 Responses to Minimal Monday: Chai Spiced Cocoa

  1. shannon says:

    good for you for PJ’ing it out this weekend! I know it doesn’t get very “cold” cold out there often, so you gotta celebrate it when it does. i love this cocoa, also: i feel the same about cocoa often being too sweet, like a plastic version of chocolate, almost. the chai spice would be gorgeous added in.

  2. Eileen says:

    I definitely sympathize with the California cold! It’s been pretty nippy up here in the Bay too. Why is it so much harder to tolerate cold in CA than up north? Whatever the reason, this cocoa sounds like a great way to stay warm. I love the mix of spices!

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