There are upsides and downsides to living close to family. Sometimes, close seems like a relative term. My Mother-In-Law isn’t close enough that she can just drop in, but she’s close enough that we can go visit without too much planning. My family is all within 45 minutes of our house, just in a variety of directions. This is great around the holidays. Being ‘the ones with the kids’, my sister and I alternate hosting responsibilities for Thanksgiving and Christmas, ultimately leaving us ‘home for the holidays’.
I’m not complaining. I genuinely love the fact that we can celebrate Christmas with our family on Christmas Eve and wake up Christmas morning knowing that we never have to get out of our jammies. It also leaves us more time for fun things, like watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and making homemade hot chocolate. We don’t have a ‘real’ fireplace (just gas logs), but the kids love snuggling up in their new PJs in front of the fireplace on Christmas Eve to enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate.
Starbucks ruined me years ago. Hot chocolate just isn’t the same for me anymore unless is comes topped with whipped cream. And I mean real whipped cream. I wanted my hot chocolate a little more grown up this year, so I added something a little special just for mommy… Southern Comfort. You could really use any dark liquor (whiskey, bourbon, etc), but I love the flavor SoCo adds.
- For the Hot Chocolate:
- 4 cups Milk
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- ½ cup Sugar
- ⅓ cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ⅓ cup Hot Water
- For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- ¼ cup Southern Comfort
- 4 Tablespoons Sugar
- Heat milk and cinnamon sticks over medium-low heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not boil.
- While the milk heats, in a separate sauce pan, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and hot water. Bring those to a boil. Continue boiling for 2 -3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove both the milk and cocoa mixture from the heat.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks from the milk and set aside.
- Slowly add the milk to the cocoa mixture and stir. Return to the stove on low heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining sugar, heavy whipping cream and Southern Comfort. Beat with a mixer on high until stiff peaks form.
- Serve the hot chocolate topped with the whipped cream. If desired, garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Are you home for the holidays or are you spending time on the road? What would be your prefer Christmas as far as travel/staying home goes?