The Best and Worst Hot Cocoa Mixes

Hot-cocoa-best-worst

What happened to just cocoa, sugar, and milk warmed in a snowman mug? Is nothing sacred anymore? The classic cup of hot cocoa has turned into a chemical cocktail of trans fat, artificial colors, flavors, dyes and preservatives.  I’d like to share with you some of the alarming ingredients in common hot cocoa mixes and offer some clean, simple alternatives that are so easy, delicious, and good for you that you won’t know why you ever bought the pre-made mixes. So let’s start with a few of the worst:

NESTLE, NESQUIK, HOT COCOA MIX, CHOCOLATE WITH BUNNY-SHAPED MARSHMALLOWS

INGREDIENTS: Sugar, Nonfat Milk, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Vegetable Oil (Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil or Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Canola Oil,Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil,Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil or Hydrogenated Safflower Oil), Marshmallows (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Gelatin,Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Artificial Flavor and Natural Flavors,Blue 1), Corn Syrup Solids, Calcium Carbonate, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Sodium Aluminosilicate, Sodium Caseinate, Mono And Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Dipotassium Phosphate, Natural Flavor andArtificial Flavor.

See that long string of hydrogenated ingredients? That is trans fat, and it has no business being in hot cocoa. Neither does blue #1 or corn syrup solids.

SWISS MISS, HOT COCOA MIX, MILK CHOCOLATE

INGREDIENTS: Modified Whey, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Maltodextrin, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Less Than (2%) of Salt, Dipotassium Phosphate,Carrageenan, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Artificial Flavors, Polysorbate 60, Mono And Diglycerides.

Polysorbate 60, artificial sweeteners (sucralose) and artificial flavors are partly why this mix is a poor choice.

LAND O LAKES, HOT COCOA MIX, IRISH CREAM AND CHOCOLATE

INGREDIENTS: Sugar, Nonfat Dry Milk, Whey, Coconut Oil, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Corn Syrup Solids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Natural Flavor and Artificial Flavor,Dipotassium Phosphate, Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Caseinate, Mono And Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Silicon Dioxide, Instant coffee, Tetrasodium Phosphate, Polysorbate 60.

A lot more of the same and you get a sense of the typical ingredients in some of the most popular hot cocoa mixes. There are a couple of brands that haven’t strayed too far from the original recipe we all know and love.

GHIRARDELLI, DOUBLE CHOCOLATE HOT COCOA MIX

INGREDIENTS: Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa (Sugar, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Unsweetened Chocolate, Soy Lecithin an Emulsifier, Vanilla).

STARBUCKS HOT COCOA, CLASSIC

INGREDIENTS: Sugar, cocoa (processed with alkali), vanilla powder.

With both of these mixes, I still question the way these ingredients are sourced and their purity. Which brings me to my ultimate recommendation: make your own (in 5 minutes or less). I adapted the following recipe from Martha Stewarts recipe. It will keep all winter long in an airtight container which means you have a quality, clean, pre-made hot cocoa mix at your fingertips after skiing, sledding, or any time at all.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

cocoa

What you need:

  1. 3 1/2 cups raw, organic sugar
  2. 2 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 tablespoon salt
What to do: Mix 2 tablespoons for every 1 cup of milk of your choice (cow’s milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc.)
*For super-powered hot cocoa, use raw cacao powder, which is loaded with antioxidants, and a good source of magnesium and iron. Though it is a bit pricey, I like Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Power. It is minimally heated in the preparation process, which helps preserve nutrients.
Cacao fruit

 

cocoa bean

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Comments

  1. Miles says

    My friends over at Cisse make the most impressive, delicious hot chocolate mix. Simple ingredients and ethical sourcing. Check them out.

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