I am a chocolate snob
I love it - but it's got to be top quality
Can you believe this? Before we even left the mission field to come home, I had already put in an order for Sharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate (professional size) to be delivered and waiting for me?
(you can buy it online here)
Here's a little of my food philosophy:
- I don't need lots, but it has to taste fabulous
- I want to slowly savor every bite
- A little extra effort is worth it
- Simple quality foods taste best
Now to the hot cocoa
My husband and I have been enjoying regular "put your feet up, relax and chat" hot cocoa breaks for years. I am convinced this has cured me of dessert cravings. Who needs rich dessert after slowly sipping fabulous chocolate. And the great thing is - this is a very low calorie treat! On top of that it's extremely good for you (scroll to the bottom to read a quote).
First - you must get quality cocoa powder. It's worth it, believe me. Sorry Hersheys, but even your Special Dark doesn't work for me. Most good grocery stores carry some quality brands. Here are two reasonably priced brands I like:
Of course you can also buy top quality expensive brands like Valrhona, Green and Blacks, or Dagoba at specialty stores. Why not treat yourself and collect a few? You only need a couple of teaspoonfuls per cup of cocoa so it goes a long way.
Here's my current collection (sure to grow)
Each one tastes a little different - I use more than one brand sometimes for variety.
The very simple Hot Cocoa recipe:
- Choose your favorite mug(s) and fill about 3/4 full with milk. Skim is delicious but you can up the fat level if you want a richer treat.
- Heat it in the microwave - about 1 1/2 minutes per mug.
- Meanwhile add about 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar per cup of milk to a blender (vitamix preferred). You will have to play with the proportions here. If you have a sweet tooth you may need more sugar at first but try to decrease it over time. Some cocoa powders are stronger than others so amounts will vary. You can always add more cocoa or sugar after blending and tasting. Be sure to make it plenty chocolaty!
- Add hot milk to blender and mix on high a few seconds until frothy. Be careful when using most blenders because they can leak and spray! You may want to hold a paper towel over the top and increase speed gradually. I use a vitamix and the top seals nicely.
- I like to top my cocoa with canned whipping cream and it's fun, on special occasions, to sprinkle a little shaved or grated chocolate on top. Nutmeg or cinnamon is nice too. In the West Indies, all I could get was boxed milk. It tasted so bad that I usually added a pinch of cinnamon with the cocoa powder - it was great!
Hot Cocoa recipe summary
- 1 cup hot milk
- 1-2 tsp cocoa poweder (to taste)
- 1-2 tsp sugar (to taste)
- Blend until frothy
Now - I need to find time to write a post on the health benefits of chocolate. Here's one quick article link and quote:
"Cup of cocoa may keep the doctor away"
"Dr Chang Yong Lee and colleagues at Cornell University in New York carried out tests to measure antioxidants levels in tea, red wine and cocoa. A cup of cocoa came out on top. Their study found it was twice as rich in antioxidants as a glass of red wine, up to three times richer than a cup of green tea and up to five times richer than black tea."
"There is nothing better for a [wo]man, than that [s]he should eat and drink..." Ecclesiates 2:24