It’s National Hot Chocolate Day!

Hot Chocolate and Cold Weather

There are not many things more comforting than hot chocolate in cold weather unless it would be dry gloves and warm boots! We live in Mississippi, so we don’t see much snow. When we do get snow….it’s a fun day for us. I can’t imagine what it must be like for those that live in areas where snow is measured by feet and not inches.

Today is National Hot Chocolate day! So make a cup and add your favorite extras. Are you a purist when it comes to hot chocolate? I mean, do you make it from scratch?

I’m not. I can make hot chocolate from scratch, but the convenience of a one-cup brewer has spoiled me. Just give me the packets of hot chocolate mix and I’ll doctor it up to perfection.

Hot Chocolate from Scratch

My mother made hot chocolate from scratch and taught us how to do it too. I don’t remember the exact amounts on the ingredients, but basically, it was milk, cocoa, sugar, and a dash of salt…..always a dash of salt.

She would pour the milk into a saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients. She heated the milk until it formed little bubbles around the edge, she never let it boil. The cocoa sometimes didn’t dissolve real easy and she had to stir it constantly. It was good. I don’t remember that we had marshmallows or whipped cream to go on top. We drank from coffee cups.

My parents and grandparents always drank their coffee in cups with saucers. Not mugs. They used saucers because the coffee was absolutely boiling hot! They would pour a little coffee into the saucer to cool it off a bit and sip from the saucer until what was in the cup was cool enough to drink. Just a random thought there)))

Fast forward to today where we (I) add marshmallows, whipped cream, peppermint sticks, sometimes Peppermint Schnapps, and sometimes a dash of red pepper.

The Difference Between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate

hot chocolate
Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate?

We often call our steaming cup of sweetness “hot chocolate” when it is really hot cocoa. You can’t tell by looking! There is a difference though.

Here are a couple of Betty Crocker’s (1950’s) recipes that show you the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate.

Hot Cocoa

1 Serving

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp cocoa

1/4 cup cold water

Cook over low heat (boil about 4 min).

Add 1 cup of milk. Heat until scalded, but do not boil. Add a pinch of salt (a drop of vanilla too, if desired).

Serve hot. Pour over a marshmallow in each cup. The recipe is for 1 cup of hot cocoa.

Hot Chocolate

6 Servings

Heat over low heat, 2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 oz), and 1 cup water stirring until chocolate melts.

Add a pinch of salt and 3-4 tablespoons of sugar. Boil 4 minutes, stirring. Then slowly stir in 3 cups of milk. Heat until scalded. Do not moil.

Just before serving, beat with a rotary beater until smooth. Top with whipped cream. Serve hot.


Speaking of squares of unsweetened chocolate. I used a chocolate frosting recipe from my mother’s notebook during Christmas. The number of squares of chocolate it called for was nowhere near enough chocolate I didn’t think. I don’t know if the squares are smaller or thinner or what, but it wasn’t enough chocolate. Just keep that in mind when following “old” recipes.


I can barely remember Ovaltine as an additive to make chocolate milk but seems we did have it occasionally.

Bosco, I remember well! At first, we dipped it out of a jar, then the squeeze bottles came along. I remember my little brother (who could get away with anything) was always adding an extra squeeze or two when my mother wasn’t looking. We used the Bosco for cold chocolate milk and not necessarily hot chocolate. And then of course Nestle’s Quick Powder came along. Did you know you can still buy Bosco? I didn’t know that!

Here are some suggestions from our Trendy Tree Facebook followers on what to add to your hot chocolate.

  • Peppermint Schnapps
  • Baileys
  • Whipped Cream
  • Peppermint Sticks
  • Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Almond Joy Creamer
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Rumchata
  • Marshmallow Cream
  • Amaretto
  • Chocolate Shavings
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Cayene Pepper
  • Brandy
  • Chili Powder
  • Salted Caramel Vodka
  • Kahlua
  • Lavender Syrup
  • Whipped Cream
  • Fireball
  • York Peppermint Patty
  • Coffee

Whew! That’s a lot of extra ingredients! Did we miss any? Drop us a comment if your’s isn’t covered.

cup of hot chocolate
Hot Chocolate Whipped Cream and a Candy Cane

Here are a couple of sweet goodies to go with hot chocolate:

Peppermint Bark

Lemon Coolers

Strawberry Ice Cream Day

Mexican Flan

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

Rice Krispie Treats with Vanilla Cream Filling


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