Whipping up a few mugs of hot cocoa this winter? Well here are seven things you must know when making your favorite steamy, cozy, chocolate-filled beverage..
7 Things You Must Know When Making Hot Cocoa
1. Spice it Up. A pinch of cayenne and/or a dash of cinnamon is an easy, fast way to perk up your cocoa and accent the rich chocolate-y flavor.
2. Whip it Good. There is a right way to add whipped topping. First, add a generous swirl of whip over top steamy hot cocoa. Wait five seconds. You will notice that the whip will melt quite a bit. What do you do now? Add another generous swirl of whip over top the first swirl of now-melted whip. (And if you are really adventurous, you can do a third round of whip!) Note: whip does indeed come in many varieties. Dairy, coconut, soy and even rice whip! Coconut whip recipe on Healthy Happy Life.
3. That’s HOT! Really amazing cocoa is always served HOT! Luke warm cocoa will only get you luke warm reviews.
4. This and That. You can never have too much hot cocoa in the house. There are so many different brands of unsweetened and sweetened cocoa out there to try, it would be a shame to just have ONE tub to choose from when a craving calls. And if you have leftover cocoa at the end of the season, make these cocoa cookies, recipe on Healthy. Happy. Life.
Or you can use your cocoa mix to make Hot Cocoa (and Marshmallow) Waffles!
5. Au Natural. If you like to add flavor accents to your cocoa like mint and orange – put away the “orange extract” and “mint extract” because you can use the natural whole food versions to flavor your cup. Add 1/8 tsp orange zest to your mug for natural orange flavor. And for a minty cup, steep some fresh mint leaves in your hot milk for five minutes before blending in the remaining ingredients. Mint Cocoa recipe on Healthy Happy Life.
6. Sweeten Things Up. Branch out when it comes to sweeteners. Basic sugar does do the job, but try brown sugar, demerara sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup – and even calorie free options like stevia (if you’d like..) Try this yummy recipe for Dark Chocolate Maple Syrup-Sweetened Hot Cocoa.
Also, good cocoa comes in all shapes, sizes, sweeteners and milks! Be adventurous and try rich coconut milk whip, creamy almond milk or soy milk cocoas and more! And yes, dairy-free cocoa is easy and delicious! Just see this Pinterest pin for proof!
For more creative cocoa ideas, check out this post: 20 Ways to Enjoy Hot Cocoa.
7. Cocoa for Two. Cocoa is ALWAYS always ALWAYS best when served in pairs. One for you and one for me. So clink mugs with your best buddy and have a very happy cocoa-filled winter!
Recap! So what have we learned? Spices, good. Grind in some orange zest too. Swirl that whip several times and embrace the melted whip as a layering device. Have a selection of cocoa. And milk. And sweeteners. Serve your cocoa extra hot and wait for it to cool down (to prevent the dreaded “just warm” cup of cocoa.) And always bring along a friend when diving into a cocoa-making session. Oh, and grab some bonus points for serving your cocoa with something sweet and dippable! Like these Giant Pumpkin Pretzels on Healthy Happy Life. Thank you cocoa for making cold winter days, gloomy weather and chilly nights – oh so much better!
Read more from Kathy on her blog, Healthy. Happy. Life.
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* 15 Mint Chocolate Dessert Recipes for the Holidays!
* Cocoa and Marshmallow Waffles
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* Orange Spice Holiday Cookies