Seasonal Treats: Hot Cocoa

hot-chocolateCool weather is on the way, and in just a few weeks we’ll be feeling the first kiss of winter.

One of the best things about winter is waking up on a chilly morning under a bed of flannel sheets and a down blanket, and curling up with a cup of hot chocolate.  Growing up that was usually one of the larger brands like Swiss Miss, but below are a few organic, fair-trade certified brands that you might be interested in trying.

Lake Champlain – A Vermont based company.

Dagoba – Keep in mind that Dagoba has been bought out by Hershey when purchasing.

Equal Exchange

Trader Joe’s Conacado Organic Fair Trade Cocoa – Apparently loved by many, but I have not tried it myself.

Make your own

An alternative to purchasing organic hot chocolate, is to make your own with organic ingredients.  Try a few of these recipes (personally I am partial to actual chocolate instead of powder, but I’m providing one of each):

Parisan Warm Chocolate:


* 1 cup whole milk
* 1/3 heavy cream
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

Simmer the milk, cream and sugar together until just boiling. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Don’t let it boil. Serve warm in demitasse cups.

Creamy Hot Chocolate:


* 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1 pinch salt
* 1/3 cup boiling water
* 3 1/2 cups milk
* 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup half-and-half cream

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

Personal Tip: Try adding a chai teabag (I used Stacks in the past) to the hot chocolate mix.  You’ll swear it tastes like Christmas.

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