Photo by Sal Ingram.

[Note: This post was originally scheduled for the end of Winter Quarter, hence all the references to the “cold” weather. Due to technical issues, this post was delayed until now. However, with “April showers” now upon us, we hope you may still find this useful. Enjoy! -CHP Web Team]

As the rain this has kept many of us indoors —and even now, with the cold still keeping us bundled up and under covers I decided it was the perfect time to whip up a warm drink.

Usually this means just steeping tea in boiling water, but this past weekend I decided to change it up and go a bit over-the-top making stovetop hot cocoa. Browsing the Internet, you can find various types of hot cocoa and hot chocolate recipes, but I’ve opted to mix and match different tips and recipes to meet my own tastes.

Warming a sauce pan on the stove over medium heat, I added unsweetened cocoa powder, a bit of granulated sugar, a little water and some dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa), stirring constantly until the chocolate squares melted and the mix began to boil. Although the task of melting chocolate can seem a bit daunting, it really is simple and well worth it in the end.

At that point, I added milk — still continually stirring — and once that had become hot, I added a splash of vanilla and cinnamon. It’s important that you do not let the milk boil, so keep an eye on it.

And that’s it! After it’s piping hot, it’s ready to drink. My housemates and I decided to top off the concoction with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, but you can feel free to use the traditional standby marshmallows.

Upon tasting, my housemate declared that it was the best thing he had ever drunk, and he proceeded to down a big floral mug of the sweet treat.

The great thing about making hot cocoa at home is you have the option of making it to your taste and trying out different recipes. You can opt to add a pinch of chili pepper for spice or ingredients like peppermint or raspberry extract to make it entirely your own. If you want to make it even more decadent, you can add a shot of espresso or a little coffee for a jolt, or for those of us old enough, a bit of liquor.

Of course, keep in mind this isn’t something you should be making too often. It isn’t great for your waistline, and it can eventually leave a dent in your wallet. Nonetheless, it’s a nice little indulgence for you, your friends and your housemates when the night is uninviting.