Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Guilt-Free" Hot Chocolate

Now that fall is in full-swing, the cooler days have brought back a favorite afternoon tradition of mine. In the colder months I usually spend my quiet couple of afternoon hours with a book, a pug, and something warm to drink- either a freshly brewed pot of tea for one, sometimes coffee or a latte, or maybe it's hot chocolate. I realized that maybe there are some of you out there that never drink homemade hot cocoa (not from a Swiss Miss container). I think it's better (the other stuff seems really sweet to me), and if you're trying to cut down on sugar, this is a very rich and tasty drink (You can control how much sugar goes into it, or just use Splenda for none at all). Also, cocoa has antioxidants in it and skim milk is great for you. So, here's the recipe, which you can find on the side of your Hershey's Cocoa container:

2 T sugar or Splenda
2T Unsweetened Cocoa
1 C Milk
1/4 t vanilla extract
dash salt
Mix your sugar, cocoa and salt in a large mug until it's all combined together. (I never add the salt but, you certainly can. I also almost never add the vanilla, and I've adjusted the cocoa/sweetener ratio to my own personal taste-- much less sugar than the recipe calls for.) Heat your milk in another container in the microwave until hot- 1 1/2 minutes or so. I'm not sure how long it takes, because I always just froth my milk with my cappuccino machine. I do recall, though, that when I used to heat it in the microwave I had to watch it really closely- FYI- or it boils over. Then, add enough hot milk to your mug to just cover the cocoa mixture and stir well until everything is dissolved completely (it will look like a thick syrup). Then pour in the rest of the milk and mix. Add some whipped cream on the top if you want (also low-sugar) and there you go.

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