I know, I seem to be stuck in a rut with chocolate makeovers, but in my defense, I think there’s pretty good inspiration for this one. You may or may not know, I was originally from New York, but moved to Florida about 20 years ago, where I stayed until this past summer when my family moved to North Carolina. So this is the first winter in about 20 years for my husband and me, and the first winter ever for the kids. Yesterday brought our first SNOOOOWWW!!!! As soon as they woke up, both kids went straight to the window, and exclaimed “WOW!” Right away, we started piling on layers, and bundling up to run outside and begin some joyful snow play – sledding, snowball fights, snow angels, or just rolling around in the snow. Eventually, it began to occur to us (or at least to me) that we hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet. So we headed in to dry off, warm up, and get some food in our bellies. After heading in from playing in the snow, it’s a right of passage to have hot cocoa.
When it comes to hot cocoa, I choose to pass on the store bought mixes, and instead make my own. Here’s why I choose to make over hot cocoa rather than indulge in store bought mixes. These are the ingredients of a popular store bought hot cocoa mix:
Sugar (processed white sugar is problematic to health), (100% glucose is problematic to health, and can cause allergy and inflammation), Vegetable Oil (Partially Hydrogenated Coconut or Palm Kernel and Hydrogenated Soybean) (hydrogenated oil is problematic to health), Dairy Product Solids (from Milk) (can cause allergy and inflammation), Cocoa Processed with Alkali (processing reduces the natural flavenols of cocoa), Calcium Carbonate (not suitable for all people), and Less than 2% of Salt (processed salt strips the naturally occurring beneficial elements), Cellulose Gum (not digestible by the body), Sodium Caseinate (casein can cause allergy and inflammation), Dipotassium Phosphate (safety of this is controversial – I’ll err on the side of caution), Sodium Citrate (generally safe in small doses), Guar Gum (generally safe in small doses), Skim Milk (can cause allergy and inflammation), Sodium Aluminosilicate (contains aluminum which has been linked to Alzheimers disease), Mono- and Diglycerides (eek – very problematic to health), Artificial Flavors (really? I have yet to figure out why we process foods and strip out all the natural flavors, to in turn add artificial flavors. We will definitely be laughed at in the future), Sucralose (main ingredient of splenda, an artificial sweetener thats health risks are controversial. Yet another note to ponder is why add artificial sweetener when there’s already sugar and corn syrup solids?)
I have underlined the ingredients that can be problematic for your health. Note that only two ingredients aren’t underlined, and they offer absolutely no nutritional value.
Here are the ingredients for another popular hot cocoa mix:
Sugar (processed white sugar is problematic to health), Corn Syrup (problematic to health, and can cause allergy and inflammation), Modified Whey (can cause allergy and inflammation), Cocoa (Processed with Alkali) (processing reduces the natural flavenols of cocoa), Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil (hydrogenated oil is problematic to health), Nonfat Dry Milk (may cause allergy and inflammation), Less than 2% of: Salt (processed salt strips the naturally occurring beneficial elements), Dipotassium Phosphate (safety of this is controversial), Carrageenan (causes inflammation), Artificial Flavor (don’t get me started on this again ;-P), Mono- and Diglycerides (very problematic to health).
While this one looked like it would fare better with less ingredients, it turned out that every single one of them are problematic, and there is once again absolutely no nutritional value.
This inspired me to begin making my own hot cocoa a long time ago, but I have to admit, many attempts did not provide the rich, chocolatey cup of deliciousness I was craving, and I even found myself giving up on it – until now. Like I said, coming in from the snow almost requires a cup of hot cocoa, so I went back to the drawing board. This time I approached the recipe in the same fashion used when making turmeric milk and it was awesome! The entire family gave it an enthusiastic two thumbs up (even the picky ones). Without further ado, here’s my makeover for hot cocoa.
What you’ll need:
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Almond or coconut milk
- I started out with making a cocoa paste: Take ½ cup cocoa powder and ½ cup water in a small saucepan on medium low heat, and stir until it becomes a thick paste. Once complete, you can store the extra paste in the fridge for later cups of cocoa.
- Use 1 Tbsp cocoa paste to 1 cup non-dairy milk (more or less depending on your taste preference), and warm in a saucepan on medium low heat. I don’t let the mix get scalding hot; firstly, to enjoy right away, and secondly, to not cook out the health benefits of the raw honey
- Once the cocoa mix is warmed, you can add the honey and be done, but I like to take one extra step to make a frothy cup of cocoa. Instead of adding the honey to the cocoa mix, put 1 Tbsp coconut oil and 1 Tbsp honey in a blender or bullet, add the cocoa mix and blend for 30 seconds
You now have a wonderful cup of rich, frothy chocolate deliciousness. Enjoy!
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