Snow Day, Part Two.
“Real” school has been cancelled for today, so our snow day continues despite the lack of fresh snow. It is cold, FREEZING COLD, and now ice is the concern. So before we delve into next week’s school work, we are enjoying another day of homebound rest.
In the South, we prepare for imminent danger by stockpiling the essentials. For hurricanes, we buy bottles of water, bread, and canned goods that can be opened and heated on the grill once the electricity goes out. For wintry weather, we add milk to the list. Honestly, I don’t know why and I don’t think anyone else does either, but it IS a requisite.
Since I have a stash of extra milk in the refrigerator and a couple of wind-flushed, numb-limbed icicles masquerading as children in need of warming on my hands, the day calls for a mug of Hot Cocoa–the slowly-heated on the stove kind courtesy of Hershey’s, not the kind I mostly grew up with, the minute-microwave powder variety produced by Swiss Miss or Carnation, made with water not milk. Hmmmm. Sometimes it had little dehydrated marshmallows in it. Sometimes it did not. As a kid it didn’t matter, it was good either way, but then again I was a child of the 1980’s when most anything good started with a powder: Tang, Nestle’s Quik, Ovaltine just to name a few.
The first homemade Hot Chocolate I remember having was made by Mrs. Voncille, my sisters’ and my last afternoon, summertime, and almost every other time caretaker. It was wonderful, rich, creamy, chocolatey, calorie-laden, smooth without all the pesky undissolved clumps one can never quite stir away when using packaged powders. It was a true treat and a memory-maker, albeit the only memory retained by my middle-aged mind is the fact of the beverage not the occasion.
These days I don’t use powders and I don’t use Mrs. Von’s recipe, although I really should get it from her. Instead, sometime along the years I came across the Favorite Hot Cocoa recipe on the Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa container, made it, and never used another. It’s so much better than a powder, reminiscent of Mrs. Von’s and easy-peasy to make, as long as you don’t mind stirring. Plus, it has the added convenience of being printed right on the package, thus never getting lost in the recipe book, box or, in my case, manila folder.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa
- Dash of salt
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 4 cups milk (I use 5 cups of whole milk)
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in saucepan; stir in water.
- Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; boil and stir two minutes.
- Stir in milk and heat. DO NOT BOIL.
- Remove from heat, add vanilla.
- Serve hot in your favorite cup, topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate shavings, peppermint sprinkles or whatever tickles your fancy. Drink immediately.