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Recipe Rescue & Healthy How-To: Hot Chocolate

Much of the country has been in a deep freeze since we kicked off 2015. Clearly, only one thing can make this situation better. Yes, I'm talking about hot chocolate. There's nothing better than sipping from a steaming mug of cocoa. Forget pre-mixed packets or spending 5 bucks at a coffee shop. Make DIY hot cocoa mix at home for a treat that'll warm you up, satisfy your chocolate craving, and even supply protein and fiber. (Yes, really!)

Bonus - try our recommendations for salted caramel, raspberry, peppermint, and Mexican hot chocolate!

(Scroll to the bottom of the post for a printable PDF version of the recipe)

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Hot Cocoa Mix from Canister

  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Modified whey
  • Cocoa
  • Hydrogenated coconut oil
  • Nonfat milk
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Salt
  • Dipotassium phosphate
  • Mono- and diglycerides
  • Carrageenan
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Sucralose
  • Artificial flavor

Look - I have NO problem with canister cocoa mix or hot chocolate packets! Although some of the ingredients on the list may be unfamiliar, know that they are added for specific purposes like thickening, flavor, and adding more nutrients. I'm not making this over because of the ingredients, but because of my taste preferences and desire to save money. Also, I'm always happy to save a trip to the grocery store or coffee shop!

You can make hot cocoa mix with common pantry staples. It has a richer chocolate flavor and ends up being cheaper per serving. One 6-ounce serving of canister cocoa mix prepared with water costs about 11 cents, while the convenience factor of packets (from a standard grocery store box) will run you about 45 cents per serving. One 6-ounce serving of homemade cocoa mix prepared with milk will cost you 36 cents.

Although our homemade cocoa mix isn't necessarily the cheapest, you'll find that it's more nutritious (see below) and personally, I think it's much tastier. Definitely on par with coffee shop cocoa, which would definitely cost more than 36 cents per serving!
        Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix:

            • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar (dissolves easier than granulated sugar)
            • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa (if you use sweetened cocoa you'll want to cut down on the powdered sugar)
            • 2 teaspoons salt
            • 2% milk for serving (adds creaminess, richness, and nutrition)

                            Nutrition Facts Face-Off!

                            8 ounces prepared cocoa - although the servings listed above are 6 ounces, I think 8 ounces is more realistic. I like a decent-sized mug of chocolatey goodness. The comparison here is for 8 ounces of packaged cocoa mix prepared using water versus 8 ounces of our homemade cocoa mix prepared with 2% milk.

                            Note that although our mix is slightly higher in calories and fat, ours has 3g of dietary fiber and 9g of protein! The packaged mix is slightly higher in calcium as it included calcium carbonate for fortification.

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                            Hot Cocoa Mix (Printable PDF Version)

                            Makes about 4 ¾ cups (25 8-ounce servings)


                            • 2 ¾ cups powdered sugar
                            • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
                            • 2 teaspoons salt
                            • 2% milk for serving
                            • Optional toppings and add-ins


                              1. Whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl until mixed well. Store prepared mix in an airtight container.
                              2. To prepare hot cocoa, heat milk in the microwave or over the stove just until hot (do not boil). Stir in 3 tablespoons of mix per 8-ounce cup of milk.

                              Recipe Variations:

                              -Add toppings such as whipped cream, mini marshmallows, or sprinkles

                              -Try a different take and stir in…

                              • Raspberry – 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
                              • Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate – Pinch of cinnamon and cayenne pepper to taste
                              • Salted Caramel – 1 tablespoon caramel sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt.
                              • Peppermint – 1 chopped crème de menthe candy


                                Nutrition Facts (3 tablespoons hot cocoa mix with 8 ounces 2% milk): Calories 185, Total Fat 5g (Saturated 3g), Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 290mg, Total Carbohydrate 28g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 9g, Vitamin A 10% DV, Vitamin C 0% DV, Calcium 30% DV, Iron 4% DV

                                Today's post was written by Leia Kedem. Leia Kedem, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator covering Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion Counties. She appears weekly on WCIA-3/WCIX-49 and is a biweekly contributor to the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. She also maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts where she regularly posts health tips and answers nutrition questions for free.