As we pulled into the packed parking lot near Hayford Park on Monday, we could see families scattered at the top of the snow covered hill. On one side, a more moderate slope attracted a smaller crowd. At the top of the larger slope — the one with jumps and a steeper drop — a larger crowd stood, with sledders flying down in glee.
It was a sunny, blue skied day, the kind of winter day that practically begs you to venture out and stay outside. So we did.
My kids, wrapped up in coats, snow pants, gloves and hats, started out cautiously. A few runs down the gentler slope led to a few more faster ones. Then they turned their attentions to that larger hill. With whoops and smiles they each caught air as they flew down. Climbing up was a challenge — it was slippery — but they managed. A few more runs followed, until another sledder who didn’t adhere to the unspoken “wait till everyone is out of the way” agreement plowed into her as she attempted to climb back up.
She was okay, though annoyed and shaken.
Back on the gentler slope they resumed their sledding fun. Up and down, up and down, until nearly an hour and a half had passed since we arrived. They might have stayed all afternoon, but hungry bellies grumbled for lunch.
On that sunny Monday, the final day of their school vacation, it was a happy end to a week and a half of merriment and family fun.
When I was contemplating recipes for this week, one kept popping into my head. It’s the simplest of recipes, but also my very favorite way to enjoy this classic. Hot Chocolate — the rich kind where chocolate is melted into hot milk. It’s simple, sure, but also so, so tasty. Perfect for enjoying after a laughter-filled time spent outdoors in winter.
Make this on the stovetop. The milk should be heated until it’s hot — but not boiling — and then add the chopped chocolate. I use milk chocolate here because it creates a sweet hot chocolate that my kids love. But a semi-sweet or dark chocolate would work too. Whisk that chocolate in until it melts.
You can enjoy it just like that — hot from the stove. Or you can make it extra special. Stirring it with a candy cane transforms it into peppermint hot chocolate. You can also top it. Marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate shavings can also dress it up a bit.
Make it however you enjoy it. It’s just a good hot chocolate.
Also, readers, thank you so much for all your calls, letters, emails and messages about Mildred Brown Schrumpf, affectionately known as Brownie, who wrote the Brownie’s Kitchen column for the Bangor Daily News. I’ve so enjoyed hearing all your experiences, memories and more. Keep them coming!
- 1 cup milk
- 2 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
- Bring the milk to a simmer on the stove (it should be hot, but not boiling). Whisk in the chocolate. Continue whisking until melted. Pour into a mug and enjoy.
- For peppermint hot chocolate, add an unwrapped candy cane to the mug and stir.
- If desired, top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows.