Hot cocoa is a Cheek chilly weather ritual recently renewed. Had an "aha" moment when I first scrounged a few years back to whip up a cup from Hershey's cocoa powder, and recognized it as my Grandma's hot chocolate. A strong, provocative memory - as she died when I was six.
I believe I've perfected the ritual of assembling hot cocoa goodness. Follow these steps for a single cup:
1. Select your cocoa with care. I choose a powdered mix for convenience, as I ain't gonna get all Martha Stewart-y and select solid chocolate. Good on ya if that's your druther. Pick a powder of substance. No individual packages. And if you call Swiss Miss good stuff, stop reading now and get a life. Darker is better. Free trade if you can find it. Shown here is Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate.
2. Put a cup of milk (8 ounces, or 1/4 litre for you metric types) in a 2-cup glass measuring cup and nuke on high in the microwave for 2 min 45 sec, or until it bubbles up. Be vigilant until you know your machine's time for boiling milk, as cleaning up the boiled over mess is a pain in the a**. Use at least 1 percent milk - skim milk is not worthy.
3. While the milk is cookin', measure out the recommended powder into an oversized cup. If the 'structions call for less than a cup o' milk, do the math and increase the ratio of powder to balance with 1 cup o' milk. Yes, you may have to deal with fractions for the first time since high school. Build a bridge and get over it.
4. Poor enough of the pipin' hot milk to just cover the powder, then mix thoroughly.
5. Slowly pour the rest of the milk into the cup, stirring constantly.
6. Add copious amounts of whipped cream, and top with your sprinkle of choice (mine is nutmeg).
The goal is to mitigate the hot cocoa suck factor of wasted goodness at the bottom of the cup. When made as directed above, your quaffing will yield no suck factor.
The fickle Atlanta spring has me guessing as to which day will bring the season's last hot cocoa experience, but the blooms about town hint that it will be soon.