Cold Weather Treats: Hot Chocolates and Steamers

It is well known that if you have cold toes, hot cocoa will warm them up. I'm sure they'll do a study on this fact eventually. In all reality, wintertime is the best time for these delicious hot drinks. They are a wonderful way to warm up your fingers when walking outside. They also warm my heart when it's bitter cold out. There are a lot of ways to make hot chocolate and steamers really good. Shall we dive into a few?

To start, my most favorite way to make hot chocolate super rich, is by adding a heaping tablespoon of Nutella (mix well). This also ramps up your calories, but you're drinking hot chocolate. Who cares? Winter is a great time to have an extra layer of fat for warmth anyways. The Nutella gives it a great chocolaty hazelnut flavor. I've tried bits of a Hershey's chocolate bar in my cocoa, and that's good, too, although not as rich. For richer cocoa, use milk. Personally, milk is too rich for me but water doesn't have the same effect, so I do a 50/50 mix of 1% milk and water in my mug. This makes it creamy without giving me a stomach ache.

I've got to tell you, my favorite hot drink accessory is coffee-mate. Hazelnut, or French vanilla have been my go-to, but pick your own favorite. They say 3 tablespoons to one cup of milk does the trick when mixing a steamer, but I like to add 4. For a small cup of cocoa the individual packet size coffee-mates are just perfect for making an ordinary diner hot cocoa into an amaretto experience. It's great stuff to keep on hand, whether you're a coffee drinker or a cocoa drinker.

With this transition into steamers, I have to say I've been less creative. What can you do to a steamer? Really, it's just milk and flavoring. There is the usual go-to of adding some caramel and top it with whipped cream. You can mix it in a frappe-latte maker for froth, although this will take it a little longer to heat up than the microwave does. As a side note: I use my cocoa mixer for parties, and everyone loves it for both cocoa and steamers. I think one of the best things I've tried when on a tight budget or when I'm out of coffee-mate is just plain old honey in my milk. Milk is creamy, honey is sweet, and there you have it-steamer on a budget.

Get creative yourself, look around your cupboards. You'll be surprised at all the things you can add to steam up your hot drinks. I love adding a dash of cinnamon to mine. I also have some dried mint. Who needs mint hot chocolate when you can make your own and control the flavor? Don't forget to top any good cocoa beverage off with mini marshmallows! Or jumbo ones, if you're into that.

Happy slurping!!!


    Mary Hildebrandt
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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