Good Question: Best Hot Cocoa Brands and Recipes?

It's hot cocoa weather! We just had our first cup of the season, after a long fall walk. Here's a question from reader Brenna on the best sorts of hot cocoa. She asks:

With cooler weather coming on, I'm on the hunt for a great hot cocoa recipe. I'd love to hear what your go-to cocoa brands are, as well as a mix recipe for gifting. Thanks!

Brenna, we are big fans of the simplest preparations, like this two-ingredient Mexican hot chocolate, or the recipe off the Hershey's cocoa tin. That taste reminds us of childhood. Try using the Special Dark Cocoa for a darker, richer taste. We like that milky simplicity of easy hot cocoa.

Here are a couple good suggestions for instant hot cocoa mix for gifts. But the readers may have better suggestions - anyone?

Alton Brown's Hot Cocoa Recipe - With cornstarch and a pinch of cayenne!
Hot Cocoa Mix at Family Fun. With chocolate chips for added richness.
Homemade Hot Chocolate at Martha Stewart. A good basic recipe.

Any more hot cocoa (or hot chocolate) suggestions for Brenna? Are you drinking hot cocoa yet this season?

Related: Recipe: Spiced Apple Cider

(Image: Flickr member Gio JL licensed for use under Creative Commons)