"Hot Cocoa" by Elizabeth Medley

“Hot Cocoa” by Elizabeth Medley, in assocation with Art.com

With the first snowflakes of winter autumn sighted from Minnesota to Tennessee, I thought I’d share the very flexible scratch hot cocoa recipe that I have finally mastered.

For roughly 2 mugs (or one big one or three little ones)

– 4 Tbs. cocoa
– 1/2 – 1 c. water
– 1/4 tsp. vanilla
– dash salt
– 1 – 1-1/2 c. milk (& I’m pretty sure that non-dairy milks could be subbed; I just haven’t tried it myself)
– real maple syrup

Put cocoa, water, and salt in a small pan; bring to boil & whisk until cocoa dissolves. (Turns out that cocoa dissolves in boiling water. Unlike in cold any-liquid.) Remove from heat and add vanilla. Whisk in milk. If you have less sensitive tongues than we do & want hotter cocoa, return to heat (not high!) and heat to desired temperature. Stir in maple syrup to taste, either in pan or in mugs.

The nice thing about maple syrup is that it doesn’t have to be dissolved like sugar, so those who want sweeter cocoa can have more syrup in theirs; those who like it less sweet can add less. The maple flavor (even with grade B) isn’t noticeable. (If using sugar, you have to add it to the pan in the beginning & cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.)