Long ago, I learned that made-from-scratch hot chocolate was far and away better than store bought hot cocoa mixes. First, there's the taste. In my opinion, store bought mixes often taste chemically...and I guess they should, because they contain a lot of dubious ingredients. For example, here's the ingredient list for classic Swiss Miss Cocoa Mix:
"Modified whey, cocoa (processed with alkali), nonfat milk, maltodextrin, hodrogonated coconut oil, calcium carbonate, less than 2% off: salt, dipotassium phosphate, carrageenan, mono- and diglycerides, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, artificial flavors."Did you know manyof those ingredients are things nutritionists say we should avoid?
I also get peeved because the container boasts "no added sugar," when in fact maltodextrin acts like sugar. Oh, and by the way, sucralose is an artificial sweetener linked to spiked blood sugar, weight gain, and increased appetite. I could go on. (For example, while coconut oil is good for you, any fat that's hydrogenated is highly processed. The Harvard School of Public Health website says such fats make our immune system to go into hyper-drive, causing inflammation that's linked to heart disease, diabetes, and just about every chronic illness.)
Which leads me to reason #2 from-scratch cocoa mix is better: The ingredients are simple and clean.
The third reason I love from-scratch hot chocolate is that it's more frugal. I'm always looking for ways to save money on our grocery bill!
And the fourth reason is that homemade hot cocoa is really just as quick to whip up as store-bought mixes.
In 2016, I posted my favorite from-scratch hot cocoa mix recipe, but since then, things have changed. Namely, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Naturally, this altered my eating habits (I went from a low sugar whole foods diet to a low carb, no sugar whole foods diet called keto; you can read about how keto has benefited me here). This also meant my kids were at higher risk of developing diabetes. That 2016 recipe isn't bad, exactly, but it is higher in carbs than I prefer. For example, it uses milk, which is naturally high in sugar. (My new recipe uses heavy cream, which not only makes for a creamier hot chocolate, but naturally reduces the sugar in the drink.)
This new recipe suits both me and my kids. It has fewer ingredients and is lower in carbs and calories, too!
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I love this stuff, but I use this for the kids)
*For my children, I use cane sugar because it is GMO-free. For myself, I add monk fruit (this is exactly what I use), which is a natural sweetener that doesn't spike blood sugar. You could use any sweetener you like, of course, though I do not recommend artificial sweeteners, which are of questionable health.
1. Place the cocoa powder in a mug and add the water.
2. Stir in the heavy cream. Add sweetener, to taste. I use a scant 1 tablespoon of sugar for my kids, and 2 - 3 drops of monk fruit for myself.
HINT: Want a more intense chocolate flavor? Add 1/8 teaspoon of instant coffee granules to your cocoa!
If desired, top with healthy marshmallows or homemade whipping cream.
I have yet to see any pre-made whipped cream that's healthy. Instead, pour a little heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip it until peaks stand up in the cream when you remove the beater. Add sweetener to taste.
For those who eat sugar, these organic marshmallows are a healthier option. Better yet, make your own without sugar at all.
Approximate nutrition without whipping cream or marshmallows, according to LoseIt. (Depending upon products used, your version may vary.) Without Sugar: Calories: 210; Fat: 20.5 g; Protein: 1g.; Carbs: 3 g. With 1 tablespoon sugar: Calories: 225; Fat: 20.5 g; Protein: 1 g.; Carbs: 7 g.