If you haven’t noticed before now, I’m pretty big on the whole “from scratch” thing. That being said, sometimes convenience wins out. When my kids want hot chocolate, I generally start with a chocolate bar and melt it over the stove, slowly tempering in some milk or I’ll whisk in some cocoa powder and sugar until I get just the right mixture. The process is simple enough, but it can be time consuming. I’m not a huge fan of most powdered mixtures because they are loaded with unnecessary (not to mention unhealthy) ingredients. Why would hot chocolate mix need partially hydrogenated oils, emulsifiers or red 40? David and I recently found some Starbucks Hot Cocoa mix and I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are only three ingredients: sugar, cocoa and vanilla. That’s it. Score one for Starbucks. The next factor is taste. Mixes are often either way too sweet or they’re bland. This one passes the taste test with both adults and children. It has a rich dark chocolate flavor (but not too dark that it scares off the little guys) and it has just enough sweetness to make it feel like you’re having a treat but not like you might slip into a sugar coma (this was a pleasant surprise because I generally find Starbucks drinks to be WAY too sweet). Finally, it passes the convenience test. You really can’t get any easier than pour, scoop, and stir. For an added treat, you can serve the hot cocoa with a candy cane (it melts in the hot chocolate leaving behind a mild peppermint flavor.