The weekend after Thanksgiving always means decorating for Christmas at my parent’s house.  The most important part of all that decorating is dressing the Christmas tree.  For as long as I can remember my family would gather around reminiscing about the stories behind each ornament, drink hot chocolate, and listen to classic carols.  My mom always gives each of us a new ornament each year as well, so needless to say our Christmas tree is getting full!

Luckily, at the moment we all live in the same city so the tradition lives on.  Of course there are more of us now, my hubby, my niece, and my sister’s boyfriend all now join us which makes for an even more festive time.

A cold front blew threw just in time for our evening of decorating, so the hot chocolate was greatly enjoyed.

Ma’s Hot Chocolate

Serves 5-6

Note:  Want to make this vegan?  Well…first you have to nix the marshmellows and then just substitute the milk for unsweetened (“original”) almond milk.  If you haven’t tried almond milk yet, get on the band-wagon, it is delicious.

2/3 cup boiling water

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

a pinch of salt

7 cups warm milk

Over medium-high heat, combine the boiling water, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan until well combined and sugar is dissolved (this will form a this chocolate syrup).  Whisk in warm milk.  Bring mixture to a simmer and let warm for 1-2 minutes.  Serve piping hot topped with marshmellows (optional…but come on).

Serving suggestion:  Sprinkle hot cocoa with a tiny bit of cinnamon and cayenne pepper for a spicy kick (this is super yummy and is pictured above)