Homemade Hot Chocolate
When I was growing up my mother had a lovely way of waking me—and my brother and sister—for school. Every weekday morning she would appear at each bedside with a cup of steaming hot chocolate. After her cheery good morning, she’d set the mug on the bedside table, but if the child in question seemed reluctant to stir, she’d make sure he or she was sitting and sipping before she left the room.
I wasn’t so kind to my own children—it is, admittedly, not the most healthful way to start every school day—but we all enjoyed hot chocolate as a cold-weather treat. There are plenty of instant mixes available in the supermarket, but a homemade mix takes only minutes to assemble, can be sweetened and seasoned to taste, and can be stored at room temperature all winter.
Any cocoa can be used to make hot chocolate, but for best results, choose Dutch process or other mild cocoa; avoid special dark cocoa for this mix. Dark cocoa has a wonderful flavor for many purposes, but imparts too strong a flavor and an undesirable ashy gray color to hot chocolate.
As a really special treat, top the prepared cocoa with a large marshmallow or a sprinkling of tiny ones. Adults will appreciate fancy homemade or artisanal marshmallows, but kids will be entranced by any type of marshmallow garnishing a cup of steaming hot chocolate, as I was on every school morning of my childhood. Thanks, mom. ❤
First published February 2015