We woke up to a new blanket of snow yesterday - a fresh way to start the new year and romanticize remaining (potentially long...) winter months.  As I've said, I actually love the quiet, coziness of January and February - warm soups, snuggly days, and hot chocolate.

Mike's parents are not coffee drinkers.  (Which happens to be the exact opposite of my parents, who start their morning with a full pot, then move to K-cups throughout the day and finish with decaf at night.)  But Mike's Mom & Dad do love real, decadent hot chocolate.  Joy (his mom, Emma's Mimi) recently shared her new favorite Hot Chocolate recipe, titled "Cream & Dreamy Hot Chocolate."  It is just that, so creamy and silky, hot chocolate "...as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars," - ok, not quite that rich, but it's a quote from Polar Express that I've read to Emma no less than 4 times a day for the past month.

One reason this is such a fabulous recipe is that it is very easy (no chopping chocolate) and it can keep in the refrigerator for quite a while (maybe a week plus?) so you can make one cup at a time to enjoy.  However, I have made it with milk (instead of water) and it is even more cream and dreamy than the original - but using the milk does shorten its lifespan... which wasn't a problem around here, as we're already on our third batch. 

My favorite thing to do is put the cold mixture into my Nespresso Aeroccino.  It whips it up into a delicious creamy froth - no whip cream needed.  You can do the same thing with a whisk after heating it on the stove or in the microwave.  I've made a couple adjustments to the original recipe - I added a little bit more salt, and I use Vanilla Bean Paste instead of extract for that real vanilla bean essence.

Creamy & Dreamy 
Hot Chocolate

1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
6 cups of hot water (or milk)
Mini Marshmallows

In a large saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, vanilla and salt; mix well.  Over medium heat, slowly stir in water; heat through, stirring occasionally.  Do not boil.  Top with marshmallows.

I love baby hands holding Hot Chocolate... looks like me clutching my latte.  Wonder what she is pondering?


Happy Snow Day!