On particularly chilly 6 a.m. wakeup calls, my morning joe needs to be a little richer than usual to motivate me to get my move on. The special treat that gets me going is what I call “hot chocolate café au lait.” Here’s how I make it: I start with half a mug full of piping hot coffee, then stir in a heaping tablespoon worth of hot cocoa mix (Guittard Grand Cacao Drinking Chocolate Powder ($7) is my favorite).
Next, I whirl up whole milk, half-and-half, or Califia Better Half (almond-coconut milk creamer) into my milk frother (I have a Nespresso Aeroccino ($100)). I fill the remaining space in the mug with the warm, foamy cream and top it with a few marshmallows (Dandies are my pantry staple). I find this to be better than any store-bought mocha. It’s slightly indulgent yet won’t send me into a sugar coma at the start of the day.