The three of us went to Lake Tahoe for a few days with my in-laws. I’ve been making the trip with my husband’s family since high school and before Rice Kernel came along, a drive to the mountains meant sleep, rest, and movies – all to excess. With a little one in tow these days, our priorities have changed. The trip is no longer synonymous with restful relaxation (okay, slothiness) – it’s about playing in the snow! (And showing Rice Kernel that wearing layers is essential in some places.)
We were greeted by abundant snow and cold this trip. In fact, it snowed all of Friday. Temperatures were below zero at night and in the low double digits during the daytime. It’s no surprise there was lots of shoveling and shivering. Fortunately, we had a solution to combat fatigue and the chill: homemade hot chocolate. Unlike the small, store-bought packets of hot cocoa mix (of which I’ve had my fair share), homemade hot chocolate uses real melted chocolate instead of added sugar, flavorings, and milk powder. Decadent and satisfying, it is the perfect reward for shoveling the driveway and will entice even the little ones to come in from hours of sledding.
Now that we’re home, don’t think the hot chocolate got left behind in Tahoe. Did I mention milk + chocolate is the perfect workout recovery drink? With carbohydrates, fat, calcium and protein, hot chocolate may be the superfood to replenish your tired muscles on any day of the week. Of course, fat-free milk is probably a wiser choice here. But I digress.
How does your family warm up from the snow?
Basic Hot Chocolate
- 4 tbsp chocolate (we used 60% cacao for a more intense chocolate flavor and little added sugar)
2 tbsp agave nectar
5 cups milk (your choice of fat content in the milk or use of cream will dictate the level of creaminess)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
- Warm milk in a small pot over low heat. Bring to low simmer.
- Add chocolate, agave, salt, vanilla and optional flavorings.
- Whisk vigorously until chocolate is dissolved.
- Serve with optional marshmallows or whipped cream.
- Cinnamon. Add a pinch of cinnamon or infuse the milk with a cinnamon stick during the initial heating process.
- Chopped peppermint / candy cane (infused in the milk or used as a topping at the end).
- Chai spices. If using spices, brew them into the milk during the initial heating process then strain before adding chocolate.
- Peanut butter chips melted in with the chocolate.
- Caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought).
- Hot chili powder for an Aztec-inspired chocolate drink (infused in the milk).
- Liquors. Not for the kiddies.