This post was written by staff dietitian Heidi Harkopf, MS, RD. She works in Connecticut as the director of nutrition programs.
Unlike chocolate milk, packaged instant hot chocolate likely won’t have the same nine essential nutrients.
Plus, if the only hot chocolate you’re familiar with is powder from a package that is mixed with water, get ready to tantalize your taste buds with the real deal: homemade hot chocolate.
Hot Chocolate: A Brief History
Dating back 3,000 years, hot chocolate began as a bitter mix of smashed cacao beans, water, chili, and other spices. It was only when the Spaniards brought the idea home from Europe did the modern day version begin to emerge.
The Aztec military used hot chocolate for a source of strength and healing. During the United States Revolutionary War, the drink was served to wounded soldiers to speed up recovery. During the Second World War, hot chocolate was used to comfort fatigued troops.
Homemade in Two Steps
Like a bag of chocolate chips, most jars of cocoa powder have recipes on the back. Flip a Hershey’s cocoa jar over and you’ll find their iconic hot chocolate recipe.
But it you really want to wow your family, use this two-ingredient hot cocoa recipe. All you need to do is warm some milk, pour it into mugs, and serve alongside a bowl of semi-sweet chocolate pieces. Family can stir in as much or as little chocolate as they please.
There are many ways to making hot chocolate, so have fun experimenting and fine-tuning your recipe.
What Milk is Best for Hot Chocolate?
Whole milk results in that rich, creamy drink that comes to mind when thinking about hot chocolate.
But if you enjoy low-fat or non-fat milk, go for it—you’ll still gain cow’s milk’s unique nutrient package. Keep in mind that lower fat milks will result in a thinner drink.
Lactose intolerant? No problem! Opt for lactose-free milk.
Healthful Ways to Improve Your Drink
Keep in mind that any toppings or mix-ins added to your hot chocolate may add extra calories, but don’t let this get in the way of having fun!
- Extracts (e.g., coconut, vanilla, or almond)
- Spices (e.g., chili powder, cinnamon, or cayenne pepper)
- Cinnamon stick
- Peppermint stick
- Drinking from a smaller mug
- Whipped cream
- Candy canes
- Drinking from a large mug
So as the leaves continue to turn, make sure you have enough milk and chocolate in the house. Enjoy the season!
Updated October 3, 2017