Hot Chocolate is the perfect warm cup of cozy for the winter season. This mix is easy to make, healthier than your alternative store-bought varieties, and delicious mixed in with the milk of your choice.
Happy Memories of Childhood
When I was a young girl, sometimes my dad would pick me up on a Wednesday evening and we would head to Coddingtown (a local shopping mall) to peruse the music store and sit and have a cup of hot chocolate and a good conversation at this adorable little coffee shop. Times out with dad were a treasure to me as a young girl. I always felt so special. So this particular cup of hot chocolate holds fond memories in my heart. What stood out to me the most, besides the French café feel of the little shop, or the tiny tables for two out on the walk, was the toppings that made an ordinary cup of hot chocolate, extraordinary.
My best memories of hot chocolate growing up come from this little coffee shop because when you ordered a cup of hot chocolate, it was piled high with whipped cream (from a can), dusted with cinnamon, drizzled with honey, and sprinkled with sliced almonds. It was a delicious treat. I can still see my dad’s face and hear his excitement as they handed me my very own “grown up” looking hot drink piled high with special. Consequently, hot chocolate has a significant place in my heart. As a result of my happy childhood experience, I show my children how much I love them by preparing hot chocolate for them the same way…piled high with special.
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate bars (60% or greater) I prefer Guittard 70% Cacao in the 3 pack box.
- 1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I prefer Guittard Cocoa Rouge Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder)
- 1 & 1/2 cup coconut or Sucanant or Panela sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- The following spices are ALL OPTIONAL but yummy:
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- pinch of ground black pepper to assimilate the turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp of ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
- For Serving:
- 1 cup of milk of your choice warmed on the stove
- 3 T Hot Chocolate Mix
- Whipped cream to top
- A sprinkle of cinnamon or Hot Chocolate Mix
- A drizzle of honey
- A sprinkle of sliced almonds
- Process the chocolate bars with the cocoa into a powder in a food processor.
- Add the sugar, salt, and spices and process until incorporated.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- For serving: add 3 T Hot Chocolate Mix to 1 cup of milk of your choice and warm on the stove.
- Top with whipped cream, a dusting of cinnamon or Hot Chocolate Mix, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of sliced almonds.
To cut down on dairy consumption, I make my Hot Chocolate with boiling water but add 2 T heavy cream to cool it down. I don't use that much milk that way and yet it still has that creamy mouthfeel.
To Spice or Not to Spice…That is the Question
Now in our family, we love spices. Any way I can incorporate the healing power of herbs and spices, I will. Technically, you could prepare this Hot Chocolate Mix using only chocolate, cocoa, sugar, and salt but why would you want to when you can take it up a notch? Feel free to add the additions of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cayenne, and turmeric with fresh ground black pepper.
Herbs and spices add the addition of health benefits. They are not just yummy flavors. So spoon them in.
- Ginger – reduces inflammation and stimulates circulation
- Cloves – high in antioxidants and flavor
- Cinnamon – Not only is cinnamon delicious, but it kicks butt and is anti everything: antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and full of antioxidants.
- Turmeric with Black Pepper, – anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Excellent for the skin, respiratory system, digestion, and joint issues. Note: Studies show that the compound piperine in black pepper helps the body assimilate the curcumin in turmeric which increases its bioavailability up to 2000% more for better absorption. If you want to know more, check out this article by Healthline.
- Cayenne – antiviral and antibacterial. Cayenne is great for respiratory issues as it gets things moving.
- Nutmeg and Cardamom – great for helping in calming the nerves, indigestion, skin issues, cognitive function, oral health, sleep issues, and more. Plus, they taste so yummy. These are my favorite spices.
Creating a Hot Chocolate Station
When winter rolls around, I like to make sure my tea and hot chocolate station is well-stocked. A proper station invites conversation between friends, parents, children, and your favorite squeeze. When friends come over, this is the first place they go. There is nothing like a hot cup of cozy and a good conversation.
For a well-stocked station:
- Hot Chocolate Mix
- Hot Chocolate on a Stick
- Homemade Marshmallows
- Chocolate Almond Biscotti
- Electric Kettle for instant hot water
- Cozy Mugs and personal loose-leaf teapots
- Milk frother
- Teabag holder
- Peppermint or Vanilla Sugar for sprinkling
- Various teas including loose leaf (my favorite is Vanilla Rooibos from Mountain Rose Herbs)
- RYZE Adaptogen Mushroom Coffee
- Collagen (for healthy skin and joints)
- Coconut sugar or Panela Sugar
- Peppermint Sticks Straws or Peppermint Soft Stir Sticks
GIVE A COZY GIFT
Hot Chocolate Mix is a homemade and inexpensive gift that shows how much you care. You can either fill a cute labeled jar with the mix or create a single-serve gift using a pretty mug. Mugs are reasonably priced at your local TJ Maxx or Marshalls. For a single-serve gift, place three tablespoons of mix in a cellophane candy bag and place it in a mug. You can also add mini marshmallows and a peppermint stick to make it festive. Teenagers and college students love mugs and homemade hot chocolate, as do coworkers or your children’s teachers. They are great prize ideas or party favors. Add a little card with instructions and you have a beautiful and thoughtful gift that will bring much JOY.