Homemade Hot Chocolate

Let’s just get one thing straight: I’m a fan of Swiss Miss hot chocolate.  I am, and I’ve had those more “gourmet” brands that come in their individual pouches and cost probably much more than a cup of hot cocoa ever should…but, when I came across this recipe 2 years ago that promised super thick and creamy hot chocolate, and it was right in the middle of a cold and bleak Pennsylvania February, I knew I had to try it.  And I’m so glad I did because it. is. unbelievable.  Give this recipe a try once.  Like I said, I’ve saved this cut-out from a magazine for 2 years, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. 
Ingredients:
1.5 cups of milk (if you want to be decadent you can use whole milk but I use 1% because that’s what we always buy)
5 oz. evaporated milk (The full contents of 1 of those mini cans)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/8 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of saltThis recipe will make 2 drinks and can double easily to make 4.

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I know, that seems like a lot of ingredients for a couple cups of cocoa.  But, level with me here, because it only takes about 5 minutes to whip up.Step 1:
Combine the milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla in a small saucepan and warm up over low heat on the stove.Step 2:
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.

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Step 3:
Whisk the cocoa mixture into the milk mixture until smooth.  Bring to a boil, whisking a LOT to keep anything from burning on the bottom of the pan.  This should take a couple minutes.  Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and serve!
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The hot cocoa will be super thick, and it will have excellent chocolate flavor, better flavor than you’ve ever gotten out of a pouch in your life.  Note, if you don’t drink the cocoa and let it sit around, it might form a thin “skin” on the top from the cornstarch.  It’s no big deal at all, just give it a stir when ready to serve.  And be glad, because it’s doing that because it doesn’t contain any preservatives or artificial ingredients!This cocoa really doesn’t need any embellishment, but if you feel so inclined, especially if you are having friends or family over for dinner and want to serve something special with dessert:~add a pinch more cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne to make Mexican hot chocolate
~add instant coffee for that smooth mocha flavor
~make it more “adult” and add peppermint schnapps; um, can you imagine drinking that on a cold December night? Heaven on earth!

I actually keep a couple mini cans of evaporated milk in my pantry for whenever I feel inclined to make this wonderful treat.  I hope you’ll do the same, and I hope you’ll give this deliciously decadent beverage a try!

~Lauren

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