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Hot Chocolate Number One: Original Comfort

It's just one week until Hot Chocolate Day, so today I'm posting the first recipe for hot chocolate that I ever learned when I was a kid. This is the kind of hot chocolate that my parents used to make for us after we got back from a cold, exhilarating day of sledding down snowy hills in the middle of a freezing Michigan winter. Bundled up in coats, scarves, hats, boots and mittens, my brothers and I would work together to drag our long, heavy wooden toboggan all the way up each hill, complaining all the way at the effort. FINALLY we'd reach the top, settle onto the toboggan, all three of us in a row (with the youngest in front for safety), and WHOOSH! We'd go flying down the hill, screaming and whooping with excitement, again and again, sometimes for hours (at least in my memory).

By the time we got home every time, our noses were red with cold, our mittens were soaked through with icy melted snow, our fingers were numb, and hot chocolate was the perfect, sweet comfort drink and necessary heat-me-up, both at once.

Here's how our post-sledding hot chocolate was made:

1. Warm up a cup of milk to perfect hot chocolate temperature by pouring it into a saucepan and stirring it regularly over a low heat until it's steaming hot.

2. While the rest of the milk is still in the saucepan, mix a flat tablespoon of plain cocoa powder and two flat tablespoons of sugar together in a mug, along with a tiny bit of cold milk, until they form a thick paste. (Note: I can't honestly remember whether these are supposed to be tablespoons or teaspoons. I know some members of my family use flat tablespoons and others used heaped teaspoons. I prefer the tablespoon version, personally, but I feel guilty about it, so sometimes I use the teaspoon version instead! Your choice is up to you.)

3. Once the milk in the saucepan is hot enough (which you test by tasting it), pour it into the mug over the chocolate paste, and stir it all together until it's blended as perfectly as possible.

Then wrap your cold hands around that nice hot mug and drink in all that cozy, comforting sweetness.

Ahhhhhhhh. :)

This was the only hot chocolate recipe I used for years - the only one I knew until we visited Edinburgh when I was in my late twenties and went to the amazing Plaisir du Chocolat - and somewhere, we have a picture of me on my twenty-fifth birthday, sitting in our tiny apartment in Vienna with my dog Nika at my feet, beaming as I drank the cup of birthday hot chocolate which Patrick had made me using this recipe. I have a different favorite recipe now, one that's less sweet and more intensely chocolate-rich, but still, every time I make hot chocolate using this first, original recipe, I am filled with comfort and warmth all over again.

More recipes to follow over the next week, leading up to Hot Chocolate Day! Please feel free to play along from home or add your own favorite recipes to the list. :)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2014 12:44 pm (UTC)
Love this! Cozy just thinking about it... :-)
Sep. 30th, 2014 01:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Dawn! :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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