My Father in Law and I share a lot of ideas and stories about traditions growing up. He talks about all those incredibly magical and small things that his Mom did around the home to make it special, welcoming, safe and comforting and this is one of those things for me. There seems to be nothing more special than playing outside on a snowy winter day with siblings and Mom and Dad or friends or even alone with the winter elements. Then to come back indoors, strip down, and warm up with dry socks, a fire, and a hot drink seems like the ultimate embracing of winter. Some of my best memories are ones spent outside all day making igloos type snow forts and exploring outside. Then the way my fingertips and nose got tingly and red and warm while the cocoa is warming up with such anticipation seriously makes me smile so much thinking about this and I hope to give the girls that type of outdoor experience for years to come. I made it a goal to always keep this jar filled up for them. The simplest Minnesotan tradition that makes them feel welcomed and warm back inside our home, and as a sort of celebration of the cold months. We try to cut out sugar and food coloring as much as possible around here, so this is modified a little for that intention, but is still sweet enough to really want to dive into. I mean, hello childhood.
In a glass jar, whisk together the cocoa powder, milk powder, coconut sugar, and cinnamon. Throw in mini marshmallows to your liking right into the mix to be stored. The ones I linked above are vegan, made with all natural ingredients, gelatin free, free from most common allergens (peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, wheat, fish, shellfish, and corn), gluten free, no corn syrup and you'd have to eat 18 of them to reach 17g of sugar which is pretty good in my book! Usually I give the girls around 4-5 and they seem absolutely ecstatic for that many. I'm sure there will definitely be epic snow days this year season that absolutely require all 18 mini marshmallows!!! Keep the Raw Honey set aside and put in after the hot water is stirred with the mix. My girls love stirring in their own dollop of raw honey too, of course and makes them feel so grown up. Especially Minoux. This is where embracing messes and empowering them comes into action. Lots of mess, but apart of the memories for sure!!! Play with your amount of scoops per cup of hot water... it's funny but mine range depending on if we hiked in the morning or the afternoon. If it's still before 12 then I make it a little more sweet, and if it's after 12, I make it a one scoop for the girls because I know how the sweets affect their sleep so much more. Anyways- go with what works!!! Each week's cocoa needs can be so different.
I try really hard to just SIT with the girls during this time. No excess cleaning on the side, thinking about other things I need to do, and not rushing them to finish. Presence and togetherness, above all. It's just as important to this recipe as the cocoa and the milk!
I store this on the counter with a big golden scoop as a celebration of the snowy season ahead! It's supposed to snow here again Saturday, and I am already anticipating it so much!!! Need warm shoes for the family that promote the health and growth of a child's feet? Check out one of our favorite companies, Softstar Shoes for a new kind of moon boot! Happy Cocoa Season!