It’s been a busy, bustling holiday season this year, nearly every hour accounted for (many of those hours spent at parties, though, so I’m certainly not complaining) and to-do lists crammed to the hilt with cheerful pursuits: working, gift-shopping, cooking, baking, mailing, party-planning, decorating. And at times this fun’s been just too much, right up until boarding an eastbound redeye to visit my family.
A few hours later I woke up, at a low altitude somewhere over Virginia, to a cold, clear Christmas Eve sunrise, the sky hung low with pinks and blues and a dappling of white from last week’s snow. Calm. Peaceful.
And that’s really the heart of this season, isn’t it? To appreciate that even modern life is full of miracles. To rest and reflect. To wrap ourselves in tradition and custom and remember. To keep warm during the cold. To work towards a peaceful world.
Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday, friends. And good food, of course, be it Chinese takeout and movie popcorn, Grandma’s Christmas goose and steamed plum pudding, a Yuletide feast for dozens or one simple, cozy cup of hot cocoa. Merry Christmas!
adapted from The Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook; makes 5 (6 oz) servings
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch cardamom
- 3 1/2 C milk (I used 3 C milk and 1/2 C half and half)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract (optional)
- Marshmallows and whipped cream (optional)
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, salt, cinnamon. Stir in water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, and cook for an additional minute or two. Add the dairy and heat until very hot, taking care to not let it boil. Add the vanilla and peppermint; adjust the flavorings, including salt, to your liking. Serve in mugs with marshmallows and whipped cream, if desired.