Guess what's special about today? It's 12/12/12 AND National Cocoa Day!
To celebrate, I'm posting my recipe for spicy hot cocoa made with cacao powder. You might be thinking, hot cocoa needs a recipe? I know, I know! Sounds so simple, right?
How to Make Hot Chocolate & Cocoa
Just dissolve some sugar, then melt a bit of chocolate into warm milk and you have hot chocolate. Or substitute cacao powder instead of bar chocolate for hot cocoa.
It isn't astrophysics.
Despite this, most people still purchase store-bought hot cocoa packets instead of making their own. (I was one of those people not too long ago.)
For convenience, of course, AND because most folks have no idea what's actually in their mixes. They assume it's only cocoa powder, powdered milk and sugar. Wrong.
Hot Chocolate & Cocoa Mixes Aren't So Wholesome
Here's the ingredients list for a packet of a popular Hot Cocoa Mix:
Here's the ingredients list for the drink pods you stick into the single serve machines:
|Image Source: cocoa ingredients|
Grossed out yet?
Thankfully these sites had the ingredients posted already so I didn't have to go to the grocery store and pay for a box of hot chocolate only to immediately throw it away.
They Might Even Upset Your Stomach
Fun personal anecdote from last year: whenever I and a few of my co-workers made hot chocolate with a packet of "cocoa" mixed with water last winter, we'd end up with upset stomachs. Now I know why.
And it has nothing to do with the one brand over another. National brand, off brand, gourmet--they all contain additives and processed ingredients.
It's not just the cocoa companies doing this. They're only a minority of the food companies selling products laced with artificial ingredients. If you're at all concerned about this (you should be) then start by reading the back labels of every single thing you buy. Trust me, you'll be surprised by what's in your food.
Skip the Store & Make It At Home In Minutes
Now that I've jaded your sweet perception of down home hot chocolate drinks, let me present you with a recipe for inexpensively making your own SUPERIOR version at home.
Homemade Spicy Hot Cocoa
A delicious, all natural hot cocoa you can feel good about drinking! Organic cacao powder creates a decadent chocolate depth that's accentuated with a touch of ground cinnamon, a dash of cayenne pepper and a pinch of sea salt.
1 cup + 1/4 cup full-fat milk (dairy or non-dairy)
2 tablespoons of organic raw cacao powder (I use THIS)
1 1/2 tablespoons raw, organic sugar
1 teaspoon of powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
2-3 pinches of cayenne pepper
1 pinch of sea salt (I recommend Pink Himalayan, Celtic or Utah sourced salt)
Homemade whipped cream (optional)
cute latte cups (okay, these aren't obligatory, but it will make you feel fancy!)
Warm up 1 1/4 cup of milk (any kind you wish) on the stove top or in the microwave. Add the cacao powder, raw sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to a large mug. Measure out 1/4 cup of the hot milk and slowly pour into the mug, stirring constantly until the cacao powder and sugars are dissolved. Pour the rest of the milk into the mug and stir. Reheat in the microwave for an additional 30-60 seconds if you like it extra hot (I do). Drink as is or dollop some whipped cream or marshmallows on top. Enjoy! :)
Notes & Tips
Make sure to use 100% cacao powder, not a hot cocoa or sipping chocolate mix.
For traditional hot cocoa, simply leave out the cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt.
How to Make Hot Chocolate
If you'd rather have hot chocolate instead of cocoa, substitute melted semisweet or bittersweet chocolate instead of the cacao powder. You may need to add more or less chocolate pieces, depending on how rich you'd like it to taste.
I'd like to hear from YOU!
What's your favorite thing to do while drinking hot cocoa or chocolate?
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