If you live in the Upper Midwest—or, God forbid, Canada—Swiss Miss is a cultural birthright. You’ve gotta drink something to stay warm, and sometimes coffee and tea just don’t cut it. Hot chocolate warms the soul.

But the shortcoming of nearly all commercial cocoa mixes is that they don’t taste very good. They produce vaguely chocolaty boiling water. In a pinch, or zero-degree weather, they’ll certainly do. But they’re not substantial.

High-end cocoa is better, yet rarely good enough to justify the effort and/or expense. But just in time for—or well in advance of—the really cold weather, Cook’s Country presents its recipe for homemade hot chocolate powder (not available online, but stay tuned).

It isn’t just good. It’s crazy good—so smooth, rich, calming, and chocolaty that it’s challenging not to just slam it. The secret is a 6:4:3:3 ratio of nonfat dry milk to confectioners’ sugar to Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I like Droste) to white chocolate chips, with a tiny pinch of salt.

After the mix is pulsed in a food processor (to powderize the chips), it can be stored for months in an airtight container and mixed at a 1:3 powder-to-milk ratio.

White chocolate, that despicable nonchocolate (and nonsubstitute for chocolate, for that matter), actually proves its worth in this recipe, providing an incredibly creamy texture.

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