It is far too cold today. -18 degrees F by our deck thermometer. The snow squeaks under your feet and no amount of warm clothing makes up for the bitterness. I made the mistake of rolling down the automatic car window to fetch the newspaper. Of course, it wouldn't roll back up again. An hour later, in 2 inch increments, the window is closed, but I can no longer feel my hands.
At this temperature, it is hard to have much to say. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Yellowstone was in 1933 when, near the park's west entrance, it was -66 degrees F. My personal "all time cold day" was in the winter of 1995 when Tim and snowmobiled from Old Faithful to Mammoth Hot Springs (50 miles) in -30 degree F weather. We actually left the park for an OB appointment - I was four months pregnant at the time. It took all day to recover...and then we had to go home later that afternoon.
On a day like today, I thought you'd appreciate a hot chocolate recipe. Besides the chocolat chaud that we slurped in Paris, its our favorite! There are no hydrogenated oils in this mixture and you are in control of the sugar. It is very simple but I don't think you'll miss the mysterious ingredients listed on most prepared mixes - or all the extra packaging.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Whisk together dry ingredients and store in an air-tight container. When you are ready to drink, bring 1 cup of water per person to a boil and add 2 heaping Tablespoons of the mix. Bring to a boil.
Add up to 1 cup of milk, cream, half and half, soy milk - whatever you prefer or justify. For kids I don't heat up the milk mixture which seems to make the drink at the perfect temperature for them.
Once the mixture is the right temperature for you, add a little vanilla (just a drip), a tiny bit of cayenne pepper (we had this version in the Yucatan) or...if it's -18 degrees F, a little liquor. Of course, whipped cream never hurts.
To get a taste of Paris, visit our local French chocolate maker - La Chatelaine. They sell their chocolates on-line and in two locations in Bozeman, Montana and I enjoy reading the owner, Shannon's, blog.