Photo by Jill Wellington via Pexels

Going Beyond Hot Chocolate

February 26, 2024

by jessica alvarado

The snow is finally making another appearance here in Yellowstone County, and I know the kids are itching for some serious snow-playing! After playing hard in the snow, with toes and fingers numb, cheeks rosy, inside we head, ready for a warm and toasty treat. Into the kitchen we hurry, where mom has a warm and delicious cup of hot cocoa waiting for us to devour. The only conundrum? Whether to let the marshmallows melt into the cocoa and make it sweeter and creamier or to eat them first while you wait for the hot chocolate to cool down. 

These are precious memories that so many of us hold dear from childhood, and as a mom now, it's so special to me to create those same memories for my children after their own grand, snow-day adventures. I’m not one to knock nostalgia of the traditional powder mix of hot cocoa but I am also wanting to try healthier alternatives that will both bring joy to my children and give me peace of mind knowing they’re getting a semi-nourishing treat that doesn’t fill them with questionable ingredients. We all win!

Here are a few of my favorites to give my children, and let’s be honest, I will polish off a cup myself as well!

Gingerbread milk

(serves 2)

It’s like gingerbread in a cup and it is absolutely divine! For the adults out there, add a shot of espresso or a cup of black coffee and you have a decadent homemade gingerbread latte.

  • 2 cups whole milk or milk of choice
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Warm milk slightly on the stove with the burner set to medium. Once warm stir in the molasses, ginger and cinnamon. Pour into two mugs and enjoy.

Creamy Peppermint Honey Tea

(serves 2)

My kids absolutely love peppermint. Their holiday treat of choice would almost certainly be a candy cane. Well, this delicious tea has the same minty goodness as a candy cane without all of the corn syrup and red dye. It’s sweet, creamy, and a lovely treat to have warm you up on a cold day.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole milk or milk of choice
  • 1 Peppermint tea bag or 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add tea bag or tea leaves in a strainer. Let steep 10-15 minutes depending on your preference of how strong of a flavor you want. Remove tea bag/strainer and stir in the milk and honey. Divide between two mugs and enjoy.

Bone Broth Hot Chocolate

(serves 2)

I know what you’re thinking, why would you taint a delicious treat like hot chocolate by adding bone broth? Well, don’t knock it until you try it. Bone broth will add some wonderful health benefits to a delicious treat. Don’t tell them you’re adding it and I’m guessing they won’t even know the difference. Give it a shot, what do you have to lose?

  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • 1 cup chicken bone broth (preferably homemade, strained to remove any herbs)
  • 3 Tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle of salt

Warm milk and bone broth in a saucepan over medium heat. Once warm, whisk in remaining ingredients. Divide into two mugs and enjoy!

I hope you take a chance to try these lovely beverages either for yourself or your kids. It can be fun to try to change things up and expand our horizons. It may not be your kid's cup of tea (you see what I did there), but they just might surprise you with how much they do like it. No harm in trying!

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