Back in the old days, when I was little, one of my familes favorite winter treats was a cup of Mom's cocoa. This was back in the day when most people, and stores, in Southwestern Ohio didn't have air conditioning, therefore, we avoided hot beverages in the summer and saved them for the long cold winter days and evenings. A lot of times Mom would serve this at our big family weekend breakfasts...when we had something other than cereal, toast or Pop Tarts...this consisted of eggs (usually fried), bacon and/or sausage, toast (biscuits when my dad was around) and hot cocoa.
My favorite time for cocoa was after a long afternoon of playing outside in the snow, throwing snowballs, sled or tray riding, playing Fox and Hounds (a game our mother taught us), or being shoved in a pile of snow by my pesky brother, Dale. We would come in cold and wet (Mom always told us not to sit or lie down in the snow...yeah, like we were going to listen to that, as soon as she had the kitchen door shut...guess what happened...), and in need of refreshment. Mom would call us inside (she always made us come in before we were ready) where, as we walked into the warm kitchen, and were immediately hit with the wonderful aroma of cocoa. After we removed our boots, coats, hats, gloves and the other layers of clothes we were forced to wear, we sat at the kitchen table, where she served up cups of hot cocoa, with a heaping spoon of Marshmallow Fluff added, along with buttered toast to eat. Yum!
Mom didn't have a recipe for her cocoa...she had a spoon (I think it may have been a soup spoon) that she used to scoop the cocoa out of the container. Back then the Hershey's container had a very small opening and this spoon was the only one that fit...Mom knew how many spoonfuls to use. The sugar was scooped out of the canister using an old scoop that belonged to Mom's grandmother..again, Mom knew just how many scoops to use. One day, when I was, much older, probably my late 20's or early 30's, we decided to actually measure the ingredients...so here it is.
1 can Evaporated milk
2 cans water
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
Mix sugar and cocoa together in suacepan
Add can of evaporated milk and stir throughly
Using empy milk can fill twice with hot water and add to cocoa mixture
Put saucepan on stove and heat up on medium heat, stirring constantly until hot.
Mom always used evaporated milk in her cocoa...I imagine it had a lot to do with the fact that she grew up during the depression and they rarely had fresh milk around. She was also a young wife and mother during WWII...another period of having to make do with what you could afford or find. She always used Wilson's Milk (I don't think it can be purchased anymore)... the label had a coupon attached and she would save them up until she had enough to purchase things, at a discount or get them free, from a catalog. I still have a 9x13 baking pan that Mom got for me. She never used marshmallows in our cocoa always Marshmallow Fluff....don't know why...didn't they have them when she was young?
By the way, if you've never had a FlufferNutter sandwich...that's a peanut butter sandwich with Marshamallow Fluff...you have got to try it sometime...yummy!
Cocoa and sugar...I usually whisk this together a little...probably don't have to, but I do.
Mix together one can of evaporated milk, cocoa and sugar. This was usually my job..Mom would give me a spoon and it seemed to take forever to get it mixed well. Now I use a whisk (Mom never owned one)...it goes a lot faster.
Using the empty milk can, add two cans of water to the cocoa mixture. Heat...stirring constantly to desired temperature.
As I said earlier...my favorite way to enjoy my cocoa is with some warm buttered toast. When I was little, I loved dunking the toast in the cocoa...it would come out tasting of cocoa and marshmallow creme..then, once my toast was gone, I would drink the cocoa.
The cup in the photo was my mother's. She had several mugs in her cabinet, but this was her favorite. I made sure, when cleaning out her house, that I confiscated this. I love and miss you Mom!
This is the perfect drink for these cold January days!