A recipe for hot chocolate
When we were growing up in small-town New England, my six brothers and sisters and I would spend hours sledding on the hills behind our 18th-century house (a work-in-progress!). We’d come in pink-cheeked, usually with snow in our boots and cold, and inevitably our mother had a big pot of hot chocolate simmering on the wood stove. What a way to warm up!
I’ve made lots of hot chocolate since then, for adults as well as children. I’ve used mixes but prefer to make it from scratch. Since my father was Dutch, I’ve tended to use Droste cocoa. King Arthur Baking Company, its headquarters located near my Vermont home, has a fascinating article on the differences between Dutch-processed and “natural” cocoa.
1 cup cocoa (I use Dutch-processed Droste)
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Combine cocoa and sugar a medium saucepan. Blend in water. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Let boil, continuing to stir, for two minutes. Add milk, heat to desired temperature (don’t boil). Remove from heat and add vanilla. Serve by itself or topped with whipped cream and/or marshmallows.