I’ve been at my desk for about an hour now, and there is just enough light outside the window to see the white blanket of snow covering just about everything. I knew in September that this was going to be a real winter. I walked outside one day in my bare feet and couldn’t put my foot down without stepping on dozens of acorns. The fruit on the Bradford pear trees hung in weighty clusters like I had never noticed before. Nature’s preparations.
At our house, Tony keeps the wood stacked near the back door and our larder is generally filled with something that could be turned into comfort food. As long as there are eggs, sugar and flour I can make cookies. Tomatoes, onions and garlic could become soup, pasta sauce or a pot of chili. No doubt that some type of home baked bread is in the plans for today.
One of my most pleasant memories of snow days when my kids were younger and the neighborhood filled with their friends’ comings and goings is Hot Cocoa. Wet gloves and boots piled up by the back door and wet, red noses at the table asking for Hot Cocoa. I was chastized by some of the moms in the ‘hood for making cocoa from ‘scratch’, but there is nothing like the taste of the real thing. The kids clamoured for it, piled high with freshly whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
Raised before the era of Swiss Miss, our home always resorted to the brown Hershey’s can, sugar, a pinch of salt and milk – imagine that! Try it, you’ll like it.
Real Hot Cocoa
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 heaping Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- pinch table salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 tsp real vanilla
- whipped cream (sweetened and flavored with real vanilla for full effect)
- shaved chocolate, marshmallows, cinnamon or nutmeg, optional for garnish
Whisk together the sugar, cocoa and salt. Add enough milk to make a paste and smooth out any lumps. Add remaining milk and heat over medium heat until hot, but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into mugs and garnish with whipped cream and any other embellishments you desire. Serves 2 generously.