February 10, 2017
When I wrote the Peabody Muffin post, I said I was going to add the recipe for hot chocolate that Mom had on the stove for us when we came in from a long day of playing in the snow, but it turned warm here in the Memphis area as it often does after a snow and I wasn’t in the mood for hot chocolate. Today that changed as it is getting cold outside once again and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it seems like a great time to figure out Mom’s recipe. It took several attempts but I finally got it right and it is creamy deliciousness. It is not like the prepackaged cocoa mix that you add water or milk to—it has a deeper chocolately taste. It is good with marshmallows or without, with whipped cream or without, with Irish cream or without, with any liquor of your liking or without--
First, Mom called it hot chocolate rather than cocoa. In fact, we never had packages of premixed cocoa in our house until I was in high school. Mom simply made most everything from scratch. I am not opposed to the prepackaged cocoa mix and have it in my cabinets right now. However, now that I have figured out this recipe, I doubt I will be making much of the prepackaged kind in the future and I doubt you will either.
This recipe calls for cocoa powder rather than chocolate bar or bits. Cocoa, it turns out, is good for us. It contains compounds called flavanols that promote healthy blood vessel function and heart health. Norman Hollenberg, M.D. conducted a study on the Kuna Indians who reside on a somewhat isolated island off the coast of Panama. Dr. Hollenberg and his researchers found that the Kuna Indians have lower blood pressure even as they age and fewer incidences of death by heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer than their mainland counterparts. One dietary item that sets them apart is the large amounts of cocoa drink they consume daily. The island only has one fresh water river and the Kuna need to boil the water before drinking it and since they don’t have refrigeration, drinking cocoa is much more appealing than drinking luke-warm water.
Unfortunately, not all cocoa is created equally. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I thought I would do a bit of investigating. Turns out Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Bliss may be our best bet. I found an article that stated Dove Dark chocolate contains the highest levels of flavanols but found out a few clicks later that the claim was not justified. Nevertheless, the general consensus is the darker the chocolate the better it is for health. The darker chocolate contains higher percentages of cocoa, and therefore more flavanols, with 70 – 85% seemingly the most beneficial. And, unfortunately, we don’t need much of it—only a piece or two (about an ounce) a day. Also, after much investigation, it seems that cocoa powder that is “dutched” during processing loses much of the health benefits. “Dutching” is a process that involves using an alkali solution to offset some of the bitterness of the cocoa nibs. It might be in our best interest to always look for a high percentage of cocoa and one that has not been “dutched” for the best return on health. All things considered, Mom’s hot chocolate might be more healthy than I first thought because the cocoa powder is not “dutched” and is delicious!
A few weeks ago, my husband was going through some of his late grandmother’s things and came across cherubs and hearts that she put on her bulletin board for February when she taught first grade. As a matter of fact, his grandmother was my first grade teacher. Anyway, I love the old style Valentine heart and hope you do too~
Here’s the recipe:
Mom’s Hot Chocolate
For the 1-min. video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybZO03mCnuE
2 T. Cocoa
6 T. Sugar (or ¼ Cup + 2 T)
2 T. Water
2 Cups Whole Milk
½ tsp. Vanilla
Here are the steps. t is a simple-simple recipe. Also, I am experimenting with 1-minute videos and hope to have one posted for this recipe in the next few days or so.
Here’s to love~
If you want to read more about chocolate, here are a few links:
Hollenberg, N.K. et al. (2009). Flavanols, the Kuna, Cocoa Consumption, and Nitric Oxide. Retrieved from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835452/
Cottam, N. (2014). Mars faces class action over cocoa flavanol claims
Not All Cocoa and Chocolate are Created Equal at: http://www.hersheys.com/assets/email/nutrition-professionals/2013-02-19/