By Christine Hinrichs

(Photo: Christine Hinrichs)

Creamy Hot Chocolate
Nothing complements a winter night quite like a hot beverage. I have fond memories of my dad making hot chocolate on the stovetop with milk and Hershey’s syrup, so there is something nostalgic for me about carefully made, stovetop hot cocoa. This recipe is a decadent treat and a hundred times more luxurious than your typical instant hot chocolate mix. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but if you like a creamy chocolate treat on a cold winter day, this is for you!

Makes two mugs of hot cocoa.

2 cups milk
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Whipped topping (optional)
Sprinkling of cinnamon (optional)

In a sauce pan, whisk together the milk, sugar, and cornstarch. Add in the chopped chocolate. Heat the pan over medium heat, stirring constantly so the chocolate doesn’t burn. Once the chocolate has melted, bring to a boil. Stir constantly while boiling for 30 seconds, then remove from heat.

Ladle the hot cocoa into mugs. Top with whipped topping or sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy your chocolate coma!

(Photo: Thinkstock)

Spiced Apple Cider
When you’re entertaining guests, it’s challenging to put together a meal that caters to people’s tastes and preferences, especially when you are serving a wide range of age groups. Here are two drink recipes, one for kids and one for adults, which feature nearly identical ingredients. This will cut down on costs, shopping, and allow everyone to feel like they’re having a fancy drink!

1 gallon apple juice or apple cider
6 cinnamon sticks
1 ½ teaspoons nutmeg
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 slice of orange rind

Throw all of the ingredients into a slow cooker or into a large pot on the stove and heat. Once hot, ladle into mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

(Photo: Thinkstock)

Mulled Wine

2 bottles of dry red wine
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
One large orange, zest peeled (use a vegetable peeler to remove zest)

Throw all of the ingredients into a slow cooker or a large pot. Bring to a simmer. Heat for 20 minutes and once warm, ladle into mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or sprinkle of nutmeg.

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Christine Hinrichs is a vegetarian who loves everything related to food. She daydreams about recipes, frequents the local farmers’ markets and reads cookbooks before bed. Read about her food adventures at