On a cold day there is nothing like a hot cup of cocoa or hot chocolate. Coffee keeps you warm but it's the sweet chocolaty goodness that puts a smile on your face. Try one or all of these to warm up today.

  • Creamy Hot Cocoa

    Ingredients

    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    3/4 cup white sugar

    1 pinch salt

    1/3 cup boiling water

    3 1/2 cups milk

    3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/2 cup half-and-half cream

    Directions

    Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan.

    Blend in the boiling water.

    Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes.  Watch that it doesn't scorch.

    Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil!

    Remove from heat and add vanilla.

    Divide between 4 mugs.

    Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

    For an added touch, top with whipped cream!

    All Recipes/mamaFaMi
  • Hershey's Peppermint Cocoa

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

    Dash salt

    1/3 cup hot water

    4 cups (1 qt.) milk

    3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/2 teaspoon mint extract OR 3 tablespoons crushed hard peppermint candy OR 2 to 3 tablespoons white creme de menthe.

    Miniature marshmallows or sweetened whipped cream (optional)

    Directions

     Stir together sugar, cocoa and salt in medium saucepan; stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Add milk; stirring constantly, heat to serving temperature. Do Not Boil.

    Remove from heat; add vanilla and mint. Beat with rotary beater or whisk until foamy.

     Serve with peppermint candy stick, if desired.

    For an added touch top with whipped cream!

    flickr/Lauren Manning
  • Chocolate Caliente - Spanish Hot Chocolate

    Ingredients:

    Sweet Chocolate Version

    2 8-ounce cups whole milk

    4 ounces milk chocolate

    1/2 tsp. cornstarch

    Baking Chocolate Version

    2 8-ounce cups whole milk

    3 ounces=3 squares baking chocolate

    1/3-1/2 cup sugar

    1/2 tsp. cornstarch

    Directions:

    With either type of chocolate, the process is almost the same:

    Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the cornstarch. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Once the cornstarch is dissolved, heat the milk on medium heat just until it boils, then remove from heat.

    Add the chocolate squares immediately and begin stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

    If the milk cools off too fast, place the pan back on the stove on low heat to melt the chocolate.

    If you are using baking chocolate, which is unsweetened, pour the sugar into the chocolate milk mixture and stir until thoroughly dissolved.

    Place the pan back on the stove on medium low heat, stirring slowly, but constantly. (Do not cook the mixture over high heat because it may cause lumping.)

    Taste the chocolate for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. The mixture should thicken quickly.

    As soon as you see it thicken, remove the pan from the heat so the cornstarch will not thin.

    Ladle immediately into cups and serve piping hot.

    Serve with a Churro

    Note: Be sure to use a clean spoon every time you taste the chocolate. Enzymes from your mouth can cause a thickened cornstarch mixture to thin.

    flickr/BruceW.
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate

    Ingredients

    4 cups whole milk

    1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips

    2 tablespoons sugar

    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    1/2 teaspoon chile powder

    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Pinch salt

    Directions:

    In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients and 1 cup water over medium heat, whisking constantly, until hot but not boiling, about 8 minutes (the mixture should smooth).

    Pour into 4 large mugs.

    For and added touch top with whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon.

    flickr/stu_spivak
  • Irish Hot Chocolate

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    1/3 cup sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1/2 cup cold water

    2 1/4 cups milk, scalded

    3/4 cup half-and-half cream, scalded

    1/2 cup baileys original irish cream, to taste

    whipped cream

    shaved bittersweet chocolate (to garnish)

    Directions:

    In a large heavy saucepan combine the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, water and a dash of salt.

    Heat mixture over low heat, whisking, until the cocoa powder is dissolved and the mixture is a smooth paste.

    Gradually add the milk and half & half and simmer whisking for 2 minutes.

    Stir in Baileys.

    Divide hot chocolate into warmed mugs and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

    flickr/Audrey Jr.