When I was young, my sister and I (and later our brother) could never wait to go out and play in the snow. We'd do all the typical things kids do in the snow - make snow angels, build snowmen, throw snowballs, sled... Once, we had grandious plans to build an igloo but never got very far before abandoning it for more fun pursuits. When we came in from the cold, Mom always had a steaming pot of homemade hot chocolate waiting for us. Somehow, it's not quite the same now that I'm older and have boys of my own. I take them out to play in the snow, get cold and often wet, then have to come in and make the cocoa myself.
The picture in this post was taken on January 18th, during our last good snowfall. This is my view while I sit at my computer typing. Snow still remains on the ground but most has melted. Today, it's beginning to snow again and if the weather forecast is to be believed we should have up to 6 inches before it's through. So, for all of you who'd like to make homemade hot chocolate of your own, here's the closest I've been able to get my Mom's recipe (she uses a big spoon to measure hers, not measuring cups):
Homemade Hot Chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
5 cups water
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 cups milk
1) Combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a large saucepan and mix well.
2) Add a small amount of water to the above mixture and stir until a paste is formed, then slowly add the rest of the water.
3) Bring mixture to a boil.
4) Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat, add the milk, and stir until everything is heated.
Use a ladle to pour into mugs, top with a marshmallow if desired, or some whipped cream, and enjoy!
For a more festive, adult version, stir a bit of Peppermint Schnapps into each cup (we called this version a Ski Lift when I was in college).