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Ninjabread Hot Cocoa

December 15, 2019 by Nicole Collins

It’s Day 3!

And today, we’re celebrating Ninjabread!

Ninjabread = gingerbread with a kick.


I’m a total sucker for novelty, tchotchke type stuff. So, there was no way I was passing up this Ninjabread man cookie kit that I saw in the store. Now, I had already been planning on making a gingerbread hot chocolate for our drink challenge. But, when I looked at these adorably punny babies, my idea shifted a little bit.

So today, we’re making Ninjabread Hot Cocoa!


Let’s talk details for a sec. Does anyone know the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa? It’s simple! Hot cocoa uses cocoa powder while hot chocolate uses actual melted chocolate. So, while calling this hot chocolate may slip off the tongue a little easier, we are technically making a hot cocoa today. So, we’re going to be politically correct and call it that!

Next, let’s talk milk. A typical rule of thumb is the higher fat content of your milk, the creamier your drink. Hot chocolately drinks are traditionally made with whole milk. I chose to use a 2% milk which worked just fine since we are adding some heavy cream to the mix. But, I wouldn’t go much lighter than 2%. You don’t want hot chocolate water.

We start by warming our milk and a little heavy cream in a saucepan. Once it’s warm and just starting to simmer, we whisk whisk whisk in our unsweetened cocoa, some brown sugar, and our spice mix. We’re using common gingerbread spices like ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. But, we also need our “with a kick” ingredient which is just a little bit of chili powder. After the mix blends with the milk, the result is a warmly spiced, sweet, earthy, perfect for cold weather drink. The chili powder does not make this “mouth on fire” spicy, but you can tell there’s a little something extra happening by the touch of heat on the back of your tongue. If you’re worried about the spice factor with the little ones, just leave the chili powder out.

To garnish, you can top with whipped cream or some baby marshmallows. But, you MUST have some Ninjabread men swimming in your drink. Their entourage completes the ensemble!

Speaking on entourage, here’s the rest of the players in our beverage challenge so far:

Don’t get too carried away with your HI-YAs and your ninjabread though. You don’t want to end up on the naughty list this close to Christmas!

Enjoy, and let’s drink!


Ninjabread Hot Cocoa

Serves: 2 Print


  • 2 cups milk (2% or whole)

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar

  • ¼ tsp ground ginger

  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp chili powder

  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice

  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

  • whipped cream and ninjabread men, for serving (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, add cocoa powder, brown sugar, and all spices. Mix to combine. Set aside.

  2. Add milk and cream to a medium saucepan. Heat on medium low until the milk starts to simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scalding. When the milk starts to simmer, add cocoa spice mix. Whisk well to incorporate. Once the cocoa spice mix has fully dissolved, remove from heat. Pour into mugs, and top with whipped cream and ninjabread men, if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe notes:

*The chili powder in this mix doesn't make these crazy spicy, but it just adds a little kick. If you're worried about serving this to the kiddos with the chili powder, just exclude it and make them gingerbread hot chocolate instead.

*This is the Ninjabread man kit I used to make the cookies.

*Because we're adding heavy cream to our milk mix, we're ok to use 2% or whole milk. The higher the fat content, the creamier the drink. I wouldn't use any lower fat content then 2% though. We don't want our drink to fall on the watery side.

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