I’ve always had a bit of an addiction to hot chocolate. It’s long been my solution for everything. Cold outside? I’m going to need some hot chocolate. Sore throat? Cure it with hot chocolate. Cramps? Hot chocolate will make them disappear. Spent the whole day cleaning up puddles of urine? Kick back on the couch with a warm mug of hot chocolate and all will be right in the world again. Noel knew about my love affair with hot chocolate when he married me and to show me he didn’t see it as a threat, he bought me a cocoa machine for my birthday. For years I put that machine to work and when it finally died and I went to replace it I found it had been recalled due to a potential lead leeching quality it possessed. I was devastated and a little freaked out as I reflected on how often I had used it during both of my pregnancies. (Sorry kids, you might have been geniuses!) Despite it’s ultimately disappointing qualities, the machine did leave me one gift: a recipe booklet.

I’ve sampled all the hot chocolate and steamed milk recipes and this recipe is one of my favorites; it also has all the magical healing qualities of hot chocolate. When my cocoa machine first bit the dust I foolishly thought my consumption of hot cocoa and steamed milk would see a sharp decrease since it would clearly be difficult to make without my magic tool, but here’s the thing: making cocoa and steamed milk without a machine or even a mix is really easy. You can even do it in the microwave. This recipe also scales easily. I made a triple batch to serve at book club and it was just right for eight ladies to dip delicate gingerbread cookies into while enjoying great conversation. (Side note: Aren’t those squirrel cookies adorable? They came in an unexpected package from my mother and were the miracle that saved me from having to choose between a decently clean house and wonderful refreshments. I guess a girl never stops needing her mother.)

Vermont Steamed Milk

Serves Two

  • 2 C milk
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste

Stovetop Option

Mix all ingredients except cinnamon in a saucepan. Put a lid on the pan and heat to almost boiling (little bubbles will start to pop up around the edges of the pan). Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

Microwave Option

Take two microwave safe mugs and pour 1 cup of milk into each of them. Then measure 2 tablespoons of syrup into each mug. Finally, drop a tiny slice of butter (about 1/4 tsp) into each mug. Microwave for 2 minutes. You can also just do one serving by halving the recipe and cooking the single mug for 1 minute.* Stir and sprinkle with cinnamon before drinking.

*Microwave times may vary. You may want to start with 1.5 minutes the first time you make this for two mugs or 45 seconds for one mug just to be on the safe side.

Written by Audrey

1 Comment


My secret ingredient to any hot cocoa or hot milky drink is a teeny tiny pinch of cayenne added.


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