When I was young the kids in my neighborhood would gather outside on snowy days and build snowmen and snow forts. Each day we were home from school, we picked a different kids yard to build and battle in the snow.
Our house was at the bottom the large hill on our side of the neighborhood. Parents would stand at the cross street, well it was a subdivision road really, and direct the few cars who ventured out in order to keep the sledders safe. Everyone brought their sleds and for hours we raced down the hill.
We always went home covered in snow, exhausted from climbing the hill for hours and most often, frozen stiff! But we always looked forward to hot chocolate in front of the fireplace to get warmed up.
Back then real hot chocolate wasn’t made from a mix in a packet. It was made from scratch and always with Hershey’s Chocolate. As we got older my Mom started making what we lovingly called Winter Hot Chocolate. It had a few extra ingredients to spice up the flavor. My Grandmother called it “adult” hot chocolate. Which ended up being very personalized when my sisters and I made it. So if you liked Amaretto and Kahlúa coffee, or simply Bailey’s Irish Cream, you had the best cup of hot chocolate in the room.
By the time I was in my twenties, the adult part meant alcohol was added to the mix. But of course that’s optional. There’s a time for something a little extra and a time for simplicity. You’ll simply have to decide which time is right for the additional adult flavoring.
There are three sets of ingredients. The second and third set are optional.
Makes 2 cups of hot chocolate.
- 2 cups milk (whole or 2%, low fat is too watered down for this recipe)
- 3 tablespoons Hershey’s Cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 3 teaspoons sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
- A pinch of ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
- 3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
- or use Kahlúa coffee liqueur with the Amaretto as an alternative
- ½ cup whip cream per serving or mini-marshmallows
- Optional toppings (pick your favorite or mix and match):
- Grated Nutmeg
- Shaved Milk Chocolate
- Chocolate Sprinkles
- Miniature Chocolate Chips
- Salted-caramel syrup and/or Chocolate syrup
- Grated Nutmeg
- In a small to medium saucepan, heat milk to just under a boil
(Don’t leave the pot unattended. Nothing worse than burning the milk).
- Reduce heat to medium to low.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder until fully mixed.
- While whisking, add sweetener and cinnamon.
- Continue to stir until smooth.
For adding liqueur:
You can add both liqueurs or just use the one you like best.
- Remove saucepan from heat.
- Add one or both liqueurs to the mixture and stir with a spoon for 2 or 3 rotations.
My mom would warm the mugs slightly to help the hot chocolate hold its heat longer. She’d pre-heat the oven on its lowest setting. Then she placed the mugs on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for no more than 1 minute. If they didn’t feel warm to the touch, she’d put them back for another minute. Don’t heat them to the point that they’ll burn your fingers when touched. You simply want them warm…not hot.
- Carefully pour the hot chocolate into mugs.
- Top each with whipped cream or marshmallows.
- Garnish with your favorite topping and serve.
Optional Serving Method:
When we got older my sisters and I liked different flavors. I like Baileys but not Amaretto and they were the exact opposite. Instead of adding the liqueur to the saucepan, we added 1 ½ tablespoons of our favorite flavor to the mug, then added the hot chocolate.
And frankly, only my oldest sister like the nutmeg. My middle sister and I didn’t. But we did like a little extra whip cream with chocolate shavings. Though many times, chocolate sprinkles or chips were an easy substitute.