I recently ran out of hot chocolate and was surprised to find how easy it is to make a really delicious hot chocolate, using just milk, sugar and Cocoa. This particularly appealed to me, because I don't get on well with dairy and try to avoid it if I can. The shop-bought hot chocolate I was used to was one you made with water, so the milk was already added. Not only does this mean you have to suffer the dairy content, but also, like all processed foods, there are lots of other ingredients too that aren't strictly necessary.
Take this example from Tesco. This is a list of ingredients for their Value hot chocolate;
Sugar, Whey Powder, Maltodextrin, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder (9%), Vegetable Oil, Thickener (Guar Gum), Milk Proteins, Stabiliser (Potassium Triphosphate, Tetrasodium Diphosphate)
As ingredients are always listed in order of quantity, you will see that the primary ingredient is sugar. followed by other stuff, some of which I've heard of, others not so much. I can't be 100% sure they are good for me, either way, so I might as well avoid them if I can. Sugar is, also, incredibly cheap. So, for your money, you are getting; a very cheap ingredient, a bit of cocoa and some other stuff you don't really need. On the surface, you would expect a Value product to be, well, value, but that actually isn't the case here. The Value product costs 58p for 400g and the Cocoa costs £1.99 for 250g. This sounds as if the Cocoa is a lot more expensive, but, with Cocoa, you only need 1 teaspoon per drink, instead of 5 of the Value Hot Chocolate. The figures (for anyone that's still awake, this wasn't meant to be a maths exercise!) work out at 3.63p per serving for the Hot Choc and 0.04p for the Cocoa, so it's really a no-brainer. Once you've done the maths, obviously, that was a bit of a brainer.
I had always made cocoa the traditional way, gently warming milk in a saucepan, before adding cocoa powder and stirring until it dissolved. This is a little time-consuming compared to chucking hot water onto ready-made powder, but I have since found another way to make it, which is so much easier. All you have to do is add one teaspoon of cocoa and two teaspoons of sugar to a mug. Mix in a little boiling water, to form a paste, then top up with whichever milk you prefer. Personally, I use Almond Milk. No dairy and a lovely nutty addition to your bedtime beverage. Pop in the microwave for one and a half to two minutes, depending on output and please remember to stir well, that pocket of heat in the centre is not fun when it makes contact with the roof of your mouth!
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Top photo by Tina from The Trials and Tribulations of a Brummie Mummy