The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Monday, January 25, 2016

Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Sometimes I get frustrated with my "from scratch" pantry.  That winter morning, for instance, I come inside from shoveling snow watching my son shoveling snow and want something to warm my  insides.  Or that January evening when I'm curled up in a chair actually reading a book from the hundreds I've pinned on my "to read someday" Pinterest board.  Those days, I wish I could rip open a packet of hot chocolate, heat up some water, and have instant sweet and hot swirling around my mouth and warming my insides.

Really, though, making your own hot chocolate doesn't take much extra time.  It's healthier than store-bought convenience packets, and if your pantry is stocked with the basics--cocoa, sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla--you're all set!  You can easily make a whole pot to share--you may as well, seeing that it doesn't take any extra time to measure out the extra amounts.  Leftovers, if you have any--can be stored in a Mason jar in the fridge; just reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

If you're a hot chocolate fanatic and want to make this frequently (or a super organized plan-ahead person like I am), make up the dry ingredients and store in baggies or other containers, whether single serve or however you like.  If you store it in one large container, you'll need about 1/4 cup of mix for a single serving.  Otherwise, just mix the dry ingredients, divide into fourths (a weight scale is the most accurate way), and store in small plastic food storage bags.  By doing this ahead of time, it becomes just as fast--and a whole lot healthier--than the store-bought version!

Stovetop Hot Chocolate
Serves four.

1/2 cup cocoa (I use high quality Dutch process)
1/2 cup (or less, if you want to cut back) sugar or cane juice crystals
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Measure the cocoa, sugar, and salt into a 2- or 3-quart saucepan.  Pour about half a cup of the milk into the saucepan and stir with a whisk until the dry ingredients have been incorporated.  Whisk in the rest of the milk while heating up to a nice, hot simmer.  Whisk occasionally so the milk doesn't scald, and once it's heated nice and hot (doesn't need to come to a boil--just taste it carefully!), ladle it into cups and enjoy!

Hot chocolate in my Lake Bonaparte mug.

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