Allrecipes.com's creamy hot cocoa and Alton Brown's hot cocoa mix from the Food Network are recommended by those sites. The recipe from Allrecipes.com must be used shortly after it's made; however, Alton Brown's mix can be prepared ahead of time, placed in an airtight container and stored indefinitely.
Make creamy hot cocoa by combining 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 3/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Stir in 1/3 cup of boiling water, and bring the mixture to an easy boil, taking care not to scorch it. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat, but do not boil. Remove from heat, and stir in 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Serve in mugs, adding a little half-and-half to cool the cocoa.
The shelf-stable mix requires combining all of the dry ingredients and storing. Fill a cup half full of the mixture and the rest with boiling water to make as desired.