Storrs’ first snowstorm of the year (I’m not counting the few inches we got a few weeks ago), also called for the university’s first snow day of the year, granting students a pleasant respite from classes. I’m glad to know snow days in some forms still exist, as I feared for their phasing out once virtual classes became the norm. For some, perhaps it was a bit difficult to take advantage of the snowy landscape (bless you if you had to shovel while it was still snowing). But for those who are able to indulge in a wintery walk, sledding or snowman-making for the next few days, they’re bound to enjoy indulging in a comforting snack once they return to the warmth of the indoors. Here are some savory and sweet snack ideas to spice up your usual wintertime roundup.
Elevate your classic hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is synonymous with snow day. Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a steaming mug of this decadent drink? I’m definitely not talking about watery hot cocoa, but the real deal—the thicker my hot chocolate, the better. Although it takes more effort to make your own from scratch rather than just heating up some milk and stirring in some powdered mix (Starbucks or Lake Champlain are good options, if you’re going down that route), the result is well worth it. But maybe you’re in the mood to go beyond the tried-and-true. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to add flavors that go well with chocolate: peppermint, cinnamon, orange, ginger and caramel are all delicious options. Feeling really spicy? Spiking your hot chocolate with Bailey’s or Kahlua are wonderful options as well. Look up a recipe for homemade hot chocolate, like this one from Drive Me Hungry, and go from there.
Brunch it up
Hopefully, you took advantage of cancelled classes by taking some extra time to sleep or rest. My roommates and I lazed about the first few hours of Monday enjoying some freshly flipped chocolate chip pancakes to use up the rest of our buttermilk from a red velvet cake recipe (Price Chopper was banana-less, or we would’ve tossed some in as well). Pancakes are a lovely vessel to contain all the mix-ins and toppings one could desire, as well as tasting delicious in their purest form (much like hot chocolate).
Whip up a bowl of pancake mix (either store-bought, like Bisquick, or from scratch, like this recipe from Cafe Delites) and get creative. There’s the classic addition of fruits, like blueberries or bananas, or sweet ingredients, like chocolate chips. If you want to step it up a notch, you can try flavor combinations like pumpkin spice, apple pie, Oreo, cinnamon pecan, mocha, peanut butter and banana, dulce de leche and more! These would taste great with a variety of toppings: consider flavored syrups, whipped cream, fruit jams or nuts.
Maybe you want something warm, but also savory. If so, never underestimate a humble bowl of soup. If you can’t make up your mind, many food blogs and websites provide a selection at your fingerprints, like this collection from The Spruce Eats. Some of my favorites are beef noodle soup, arroz caldo, butternut squash, clam chowder, loaded baked potato, corn chowder and tomato (clearly, I love soup). If all else fails, ask a relative to make a pot of a family classic–I’m sure you have one!
Delight in desserts
Snow day baking is a popular activity for a reason. The oven warms up the whole house, the sweet smell of treats wafts through the air and you get to relax while you create something delicious. There are different recipes for different baking levels, so everybody gets to join in on the fun. Banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and brownies are the first desserts that come to mind–they’re easy to make, and as the trend in this article seems to be, easily customizable. However, don’t forget about dishes like pies, turnovers and sweet buns.