This post is sponsored by The New England Dairy Promotion Board in support of The Great American Milk Drive.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate via JennySheaRawn.comHot chocolate will forevermore remind me of snow days growing up in Cincinnati, OH.  On mornings when we were expecting a lot of snow, me and my two younger sisters would wake up early, run down the hall and ask/beg my mom to tell us we had a snow day. If the answer was yes, back to bed we went.  A few hours later, we bundled up in our snowsuits, grabbed the sleds, grabbed our neighbors and headed out to the neighborhood hills. After hours sledding and trudging through the snow, we’d stumble back home with rosy cheeks and frozen feet. Mom would have mugs of creamy Swiss Miss hot chocolate waiting for us with marshmallows and whipped cream.

I still love those snowy days and mugs of hot chocolate. Only now, there are no snow days (sigh) and my hot chocolate is much less sweet than the good old days because it’s homemade. Homemade hot chocolate is simple to make either with a combination of milk + unsweetened cocoa powder + a tad of your choice of sweetner (honey, brown sugar, sugar, sugar alternative) OR, in this case, milk + 72% dark chocolate + a dash of peppermint extract if you like a subtle peppermint flavor. I prefer using whole milk over skim/1%/2% because it’s creamier and I find it to be more satisfying. While pregnant with Lucca I drank organic whole milk (versus low fat) pretty much every night for dessert – sometimes warm as hot chocolate or with a tablespoon of honey and other times plain and cold. I knew I needed the extra nutrition while pregnant and this was a nice good-for-me treat at the end of a long day.

As the weather has gotten cooler here on the Cape, I’ve been loving my homemade hot chocolate more than ever. Today, I’m sharing my simple peppermint hot chocolate recipe to in support of and to help bring awareness for The Great American Milk Drive.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate via JennySheaRawn.comMilk is especially important for families who are food insecure, as it’s a nutrient rich addition to any meal that may be less than nutritious otherwise. Milk has 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of protein per serving and three of the top nutrients most likely to be missing in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

In Massachusetts, 1 in 8 people face hunger, and many rely on food banks like the Greater Boston Food Bank for nutrition assistance. National feeding programs serve 37 million Americans, yet milk – one of the most requested nutrition staples, is rarely available because it’s not donated often because it’s perishable. Food bank directors say milk is one of the products their clients request most often, but they cannot always meet the demand. WE can help meet this demand by joining The Great American Milk Drive to help get fresh, nutritious milk to families in need. When you make a donation online, your donation will go to needy families in your community. Any donation made here on the Cape will go to the Greater Boston Food Bank. Thanks for your consideration and generosity this holiday season.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate via JennySheaRawn.comHere’s how to make this simple Peppermint Hot Chocolate:

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Serves: 2
Time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic whole milk (or milk of your choice)
  • ⅛ tsp McCormick peppermint extract
  • 1.65 oz 72% cacao dark chocolate, chopped (we used one 1.65 oz bar of dark chocolate from Trader Joes) – add more or less chocolate to your taste
  • ¼ crushed candy cane or a candy cane spoon
  • whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

Heat milk and peppermint extract to just a simmer over low heat. Add dark chocolate and remove from heat. Stir until dark chocolate is melted. Pour into 2 mugs. Top with whipped cream, if desired and crushed candy cane. Or serve with a candy cane spoon. Sip, savor and enjoy.