A Cup of Cocoa

Snow is on the way this weekend and nothing makes me feel cozy and warm like a steaming cup of hot cocoa. Not being a coffee-drinker, I fancy myself a "cocoa connoisseur" of sorts. Those little packets of powdered milk cocoa mix won't cut it around my house; it's got to be made from scratch. The ingredients are simple: good quality cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. Add a splash of vanilla extract or a spoonful of Torani flavoring to make it extra-special. Top it off with some real whipped cream and sit back and watch the snow fall!

For one incredibly good cup of hot cocoa:

In a cup or mug, combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 generous teaspoon cocoa powder*. Stir well until the cocoa is thoroughly blended with the sugar. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons Torani flavoring (I like Almond Roca or Hazelnut) and stir well into a smooth paste. If you don't have any flavoring, just use a tablespoon of milk. Add milk to fill the cup (whole milk is best, if you have it on hand, but I usually use 1%) and stir to combine. Microwave for about 1 minute and 35 seconds. Stir well again and top with a splash of cream or a dollop of whipped cream and if you really want to treat yourself, grate some dark chocolate on top. (Mini-marshmallows are reserved for the kids!)

*These amounts are for the standard teacup I usually use. If you're filling a big mug you will want to increase the sugar and cocoa.

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