If there’s one thing the whole world could agree on, it’s that Hot Chocolate is simply D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! It takes you back to that warm and happy place where you’re wearing fuzzy socks while watching Saturday morning cartoons. It’s basically a passport to Winter Wonderland!
Let’s start with some general facts. Hot Chocolate is different than Hot Cocoa. Both terms are used interchangeably, but they’re not the same. Hot Chocolate is made using real chocolate, and Hot Cocoa is made using cocoa powder. Chocolate contains Cocoa Butter, which makes Hot Chocolate richer in fat than Hot Cocoa.
Now, there are different kinds of Hot Chocolate/Cocoa. Europeans are known to serve it thick and creamy whilst it has more of a water consistency anywhere else. South Americans like to add spices to it. Some prefer milk while others prefer water. The possibilities and variations are endless nowadays.
There is one particular form of Hot Chocolate/Cocoa I’d like to put a spotlight on: Instant Hot Chocolate packets. Have you ever read the ingredients in them? Let’s have a look (Taken from the back of many famous brand packets)
Famous Brand 1: Ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, modified whey, cocoa (processed with alkali), hydrogenated cocnut oil, nonfat milk, calcium carbonate, less than 2% of: salt, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglyderides, artificial flavor. Contains milk.
Famous Brand 2: Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Vegetable Oil (Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Or Palm Kernel, And Canola, Hydrogenated Soybean, Cottonseed, And/Or Safflower), Dairy Product Solids, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Salt, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Caseinate (from Milk), Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminosilicate, Mono- And Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Artificial Flavors, Sucralose.
What’s up with all the scary names? Most of these ingredients are additives, emulsifiers and artificial, processed powders. They’re all claimed to be “safe”, but really now, entre nous?
Hot Chocolate could easily be made in your own kitchen with real ingredients and food. There are many recipes on-line that vary from simple to sophisticated, depending on your mood and taste. Today, I will share 2 basic recipes, one for European style Hot Chocolate (creamy) and one for Hot Cocoa.
1- Hot Chocolate Recipe (European Style). This recipe is thicker than the usual drink (and my personal fav!)
Ingredients (makes 2 cups):
- 1 cup milk (fresh or powdered)
- 1/4 cup powdered milk
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch (for thickness)
- 75g Dark Chocolate
- A dash of Vanilla
In a saucepan on the stove top, bring the milk to a boil. Add the chocolate pieces and stir to melt completely. Add the powdered milk, cornstarch and vanilla. Bring to a boil a second time. The mix will start to thicken. Remove from heat and serve.
Boiling the mix twice is necessary to bring out the flavours. Add sweetener of choice if you want a sweeter taste (I use Lindt 60% or Dark Cote d’Or and it’s perfect without any added sweetener).
2- Hot Cocoa Recipe
Ingredients: (makes 1 cup):
- 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup milk
- pinch of salt
- dash of vanilla
- sweetener of choice
In a saucepan, whisk together all ingredients over medium heat (do not boil) and serve. This could also be done in a microwave but I didn’t like it as much when I tried it.
So you see, Hot Chocolate/Cocoa is really simple and shouldn’t contain ingredients you can’t pronounce! There are many variations as I said but these 2 recipes are the base to everything. Once you master them, it’s really fun to play around the kitchen! I hope you find my article useful and feel free to leave your feedbacks!