Effortless Hot Cocoa

Our house.
Looking down the street.
My car in the driveway, buried in a snowdrift.
Outside, there is 16 inches of snow on the ground. It’s getting deeper each hour. The sky is grey, the wind is cold, and the snowflakes keep falling.
It’s the perfect day to cuddle up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa.

To me, cocoa is the mellower cousin of hot chocolate. Both are delicious, but hot chocolate is more of a dessert: a deep, dark, sometimes syrupy, special occasion beverage. Hot cocoa, on the other hand, isn’t as rich or intense; it’s an every-winter-day drink. Especially as it’s so easy to make. It only requires a little more effort than those from a mix, but it’s infinitely more delicious. You can play with it a bit, too: I like to add a smidge of cinnamon, but you might leave that and the vanilla out and drop in some peppermint extract instead.

Or leave out the cinnamon or mint, and serve with a good, fluffy marshmallow.

Effortless Hot Cocoa

1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder (I like Ghirardelli or Hershey)
1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract.

In a mug, blend cocoa, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In another cup, microwave milk until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add about 1/3 of the milk to the dry ingredients, stirring to dissolve the sugar and blend the cocoa. Add the vanilla and the rest of the milk, stirring to combine.

Serves one.

Grade: A

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Categories: Chocolate, Drinks, Grade Range: A- to A+

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