Some foods bring you comfort. Others bring back childhood memories. Some warm up your body and bring your soul along for the ride as well. Some foods can even accomplish all three. For instance, there's nothing like a hearty bowl of hot soup to make an illness seem to just melt away. Not only are they healthy to eat, there's just something emotionally soothing about indulging in a bowl of soup when you're ill. In that same vein, chocolate always has been a favorite comfort food for young and old alike. It simply tastes delicious, and fun times are sure to ensue whenever chocolate is served. When you combine the best properties for these two comfort foods, a warm, rich cup of hot chocolate can really brighten your day, warm your soul, and bring back sweet memories of Grandma's delicious homemade cocoa. And nothing soothes winter's blues than a steaming cup of chocolaty goodness.
There are many options for hot cocoa. You can settle for store-bought instant cocoa, but there are small ways you can add a special twist on the old favorite and make lasting sweet memories. Here are a few simple ideas that will take only a few ingredients and a few minutes in the kitchen but will let you reap the warmth and goodness for hours.
- For a rich and creamy batch of hot chocolate, add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and your own measurement for cocoa (to taste) to 6 cups of hot (not boiling) water. Stir occasionally as it heats so everything mixes well and to prevent it from boiling. The final mixture should yield about 8 cups of sweet, delectable goodness.
- Another great variation to try is Mexican hot chocolate. To make this spicy delight, add a pinch of ground cinnamon and chili powder to your usual hot chocolate brew and really heat up your day.
- If you prefer white chocolate cocoa, make enough for 4 cups and add ¼ teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon. This is sure to spice things up but won't leave a strong aftertaste.
No matter what the age, everyone enjoys a great cup of hot cocoa, not just for the taste but also for the feeling of comfort it brings. Science has proven that food can a have very real effect on how a person thinks and feels. A warm cup of cocoa in your hand can turn the gloomy rain, blanketing snow, or howling wind into a moment truly worth savoring. Holding a steaming cup of liquid chocolate can erase worry, boredom, and anxiety and fill your mind with happy thoughts and warm memories. Whether spicy Mexican, decadent white chocolate, or old-fashioned brimming with marshmallows, a cup of hot chocolate can work wonders on a cold winter day. So the next time the moment calls for hot cocoa, try one of these recipes. You will surely love them, and your friends and family will be thrilled with the flavorful twists. Have a warm chocolaty winter!
- Editor's Note: Criss White is a professional article writer for health, wedding, and various other topics. To get more planning tips and ideas for wedding favors, visit Bridal and Wedding Favors.