It’s February 2. Most people here in New England don’t really pay attention to Punxsutawney Phil. Being a Pennsylvania native we eagerly watched Punxsutawney Phil every February 2 on Groundhog Day for the seasons prediction. It was important to know what he was going to say. I didn’t mean that he was always correct in his prediction, apparently in 104 years, he has had a 40% accuracy rate. Not so great, but maybe it is for a groundhog! It really doesn’t mean much of anything other than just a lot of fun and something to do in the middle of winter to ward off the doldrums. You see in the part of Pennsylvania that I grew up in (not far from Punxsutawney), we had some mountains in the north, however there really wasn’t a whole lot of skiing areas, we did not often get enough snow to go snowshoeing. Occasionally we could go sledding and have some fun building snowmen or make snow forts. We really just needed something to do and something to talk about in February and Ground Hog day filled that space.
In southern Pennsylvania when Punxsutawney Phil said six more weeks of winter on February 2, that meant there would be spring weather by mid-March and usually that was the case. Not so much here in New Hampshire. Southern Pennsylvania is about four weeks ahead of us when it comes to the change of the seasons. Here in New Hampshire we probably won’t see the flowers until sometime in late April, but with any luck, the spring of 2020 will come just a little bit earlier as predicted by Punxsutawney Phil. According to NOAA, the weather pattern might just be aligning with Phil this year!
While we wait for that glorious weather with blooming flowers, warm sun, and the long awaited winter thaw, see below for a homemade hot chocolate recipe. The world of hot cocoa explodes with choices when you make your own mix.
It’s a nice hot drink when returning from skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, checking in with Phil, or whatever winter activity you do to keep cabin fever at bay. Carob can easily be substituted so you can enjoy this beverage in the evening time without the concern of caffeine to keep you awake. Enjoy while we wait for that warmth of Spring.
Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe
2 cups sifted Confectioners sugar
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (recommend dutch cocoa) (Substitute Carob for no caffeine.)
2½ cups dry milk (We use Hoosier Hill Farm All American Whole Milk Powder)
½ tsp salt
1 TBSP vanilla powder (we use Nielson-Massey brand)
Mix all together. Store in an airtight container. Use about ¼ cup powder mix per cup. Drink all before spring! Add chocolate chips, cinnamon and/or marshmallows as desired. Makes many cups of the thick, chocoately brew.
For dairy free:
Leave out dry milk powder in the recipe. Warm 1 cup of non-dairy milk. Add 2-3 TBSP of mix and whisk into warm non-dairy milk.
For sugar free:
Leave out the sugar in the recipe. Add 2-3 TBSP of mix to cup. Add hot water and sweetener of choice. I like Stevia. Vanilla Stevia adds some nice extra flavor.
Mocha: Add a TBSP or two of mix to a cup of coffee. Yum!
More Hot Cocoa options: Visit my Herbal Hot Cocoa Blog