Ah.............. sitting by a fire, a good book, and a large mug of hot cocoa. I will admit that I have used those (gasp) instant packs of cocoa in a pinch. If I'm at work, and need something hot to drink, I'll sneak away to the microwave with one of the infamous little pouches. I don't call that drinking cocoa though. It's just flavored hot water in my opinion.
My oldest son was home from college the week of Thanksgiving and we had hot cocoa one night. I make it the old fashioned way. Whenever I make hot cocoa, it reminds me of my days living in Paris. On most cold winter mornings, I would get the perfect size pot, fresh whole milk, Droste cocoa (which I still purchase when I see it), and make some warming cocoa before starting the morning trek to the local metro station. Something about the click of the gas stove and making cocoa that "jogs" the memory. Funny isn't it how some things spark a memory.
1 measuring container using my favorite mug (or any mug)
1 or 2 tablespoons sugar per mug (I like my cocoa sweet)
1 tablespoon cocoa per mug (you can use dark cocoa for a change too)
1/4 tsp. vanilla added to the milk in the pot
put the cocoa and sugar in the coffee mug. Add just enough milk or water to stir the ingredients smooth. You will probably use 1 tablespoon of water. Heat the milk in a pot to scalding. Just before serving, stir in the vanilla flavoring. Please only use REAL vanilla. The imitation vanilla is not tasty. You certainly don't want it to come to a boil. Nothing grabs your attention faster than Mt. Everest rising out of the pot just before it bubbles over the edge of the pot onto the stove. Yes, that has happened to me numerous times.
Pour hot milk over the choco/sugar mixture in your mug, add marshmallows or marshmallow cream, stir and enjoy.
Whenever my oldest son is home, I still get out his Tasmanian devil character mug from the Old Bugs Bunny cartoons. He has had this mug since he was 7 or 8 years old.
I have also read about making a thick hot cocoa by adding a little bit of cornstarch with the chocolate/sugar mixture, but have yet found the perfect measurement. The first time I made it it was too thick. It's something to attempt if you desire.