Winter’s Coming: Real Homemade Hot Cocoa

On a miserable cold day or evening, few things are as satisfying, flavorful, and aromatic as a cup of hot cocoa. In this day of instant gratification and artificial things like spiced cider powder, it is good to know some things still are best the old fashioned, homemade way. Hot cocoa can be prepared as easily and almost as quickly as ripping open an envelope, pouring out powder, adding water and then nuking in the microwave.

You can use any brand of powdered cocoa – from common to rare, inexpensive to extravagant. I use plain old Hershey’s Cocoa (I am not paid for any endorsement of this product). You can use any milk: whole, skim, half and half, evaporated milk (for a retro take on this classic) milk made from nuts or soy. Sweeteners and how much is up to you: granulated sugar, brown, natural, honey, stevia, agave, honey, maple syrup, artificial sweeteners. If you have never made hot cocoa, taste as you go as to amount of cocoa and sweetner you like.  Additions of some cinnamon or peppermint extract, schnapps, or crème de menthe, crème de cacao, or a bit of rum adds an adventurous adult twist.

This recipe multiplies easily. One cup is as easy as four. Add a dollop or squirt of whipped cream or a marshmallow to the finished deliciousness for a bit of added decadence. Pour into your special mug, kick back, relax, sip, and let the harsh cold outside world drift away in a cloud of fragrant, gentle, chocolate steam.

Hot Cocoa
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like it) or other sweetener
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk or any combination of milk, half-and-half, or cream or non-dairy “milk”
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation
Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, salt, and about 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot. Stir in the vanilla and serve. If you like it frothy, blend it in the blender.

public domain vintage clip art

 

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