Do you have the winter doldrums? Hot cocoa (or chocolate) can lift your spirits | To eat

Feeling a little down this winter – or maybe a little cold? Hot chocolate will lift your spirits and warm you up.

If need a little extra encouragement, just add marshmallows.

The idea of ​​turning one of the world’s most beloved flavors into a hot, sweet and creamy drink was certainly inspired.

Credit the Mayans, possibly the Olmecs, and the Aztecs of Mexico for making the first hot chocolate — and sharing it with the Spaniards. Once those Spaniards took it to Europe and added sugar to it, there was no going back.

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These days, most Americans drink hot chocolate, not hot chocolate. The difference is right there in the name: hot chocolate is made with cocoa powder and hot chocolate is made with melted chocolate. Which one you prefer may depend on what you drank as a child.

Hot cocoa is usually prepared with milk, cocoa powder and sugar. If you have a store-bought mix, it most likely contains powdered milk mixed with cocoa and sugar, in which case you just need to add hot water.

Americans make hot chocolate the same way but with solid chocolate. In Europe, however, recipes vary; some mix cream with milk for added richness; others use water or water mixed with milk, saying the water produces a stronger, more intense chocolate flavor.

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