It's here! It's finally here! Light up night in downtown Pittsburgh! I'll be doing my happy holiday shuffle (and using superfluous exclamation points) all day long.
As much as I try to contain my excitement and enforce self-imposed rules that forbid Christmas music or decorations until after Thanksgiving, it becomes a serious uphill battle once this annual city tradition takes place.
It's just the celebration you'd expect, filled with lights, Santa(s), caroling, gingerbread house displays, Macy's windows, fake snow, and fireworks...! The downtown streets are void of traffic and, instead, overflowing with Pittsburghers ready to begin the holiday season. It's just so darn delightful and merry!
I look forward to light up night every year and imagine myself among the bustling crowds, enjoying fried Oreos and sipping on hot chocolate. I can practically taste it when we arrive in Market Square, which is when reality promptly smacks me across the face.
Some things are just sacred, you know? And watery hot chocolate is not going to taint my light up night. No, sir. Watery hot chocolate is neither delightful nor merry.
Want to know what is delightful, merry, and downright delicious? Homemade hot cocoa mix!
It takes less than 5 minutes to mix and uses normal pantry ingredients. Delightful!
One scoop, mixed with 8 ounces of milk or water, makes a toasty warm beverage for you or, when packaged with marshmallows and shared, a friend. Merry!
Rich cocoa and sweet melted white chocolate chips with real milk. Delicious!
Just in time to make myself a nice tall travel thermos full of hot cocoa and head downtown for the festivities. I'll be clutching it between my mittened (yes, adults can wear mittens!) hands, enjoying every toasty and chocolatey sip without the hassle of standing in lines. Well, except for the fried Oreo line. That is, until I become brave enough to make those at home, too...
Have yourself a cup of hot cocoa (lights or no lights) and a fantastic Friday and weekend! :)
One year ago: Caramel stuffed apple cider cookies
Two years ago: Classic meatballs
Three years ago: Cherry, almond, and cinnamon granola
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
(adapted from Cook's Country)
-makes about 22 servings
3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (Dutch-processed or regular)
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, whisk together ingredients. Working in batches, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
To make hot cocoa, put 1/3 cup of the mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk (or water, as I've tried with good results). Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows.