Review: Pricier cocoa worth the splurge for hot chocolate
FARGO - When I was a kid, I topped Swiss Miss hot cocoa with very fancy dollops of Cool Whip. I was an aspiring foodie, after all. I've moved on from packaged hot cocoa and prefer to make my own, although powdery packets of Swiss Miss bring back ...
FARGO – When I was a kid, I topped Swiss Miss hot cocoa with very fancy dollops of Cool Whip.
I was an aspiring foodie, after all.
I’ve moved on from packaged hot cocoa and prefer to make my own, although powdery packets of Swiss Miss bring back happy memories.
Homemade hot cocoa/hot chocolate is simple, and you probably have everything needed in your fridge and pantry.
I tested two unsweetened cocoa powders to see if a more expensive cocoa tastes better than a budget-friendly cocoa.
My contenders were Ghirardelli’s 100 percent Unsweetened Cocoa, $5.89 for 8 ounces, and Nestle Toll House Cocoa 100 percent Pure Cocoa, $2.79 for 8 ounces.
I used each cocoa powder in a simple hot chocolate recipe by Epicurious (see recipe) and found that while Nestle makes a fine cup of hot cocoa, Ghirardelli’s darker tasting cocoa produces a superior mug of chocolaty goodness.
Both cocoa powders dissolved in the milk and sugar mixture easily, and the end results were creamy. The Nestle cocoa looks lighter, while the Ghirardelli is darker, and that translates to taste, too.
I liked the less-sweet taste of the Ghirardelli cocoa. Although I added the same amount of sugar to both cocoas, the Ghiradelli-based drink tasted richer and more like chocolate, not sugar.
Is Ghirardelli worth spending twice the price? Sure, for a special winter treat, buy it and use it strictly for hot cocoa.
But, if you’ve got Nestle on hand, it’ll work fine, too.
Just remember, top it with Cool Whip if you want to be fancy like me, or move on up to freshly whipped cream or marshmallows.
Simple Hot Cocoa for One
Makes one mug of cocoa
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (adjust to taste)
Pinch of salt
1 cup of milk (use your milk of choice)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Whisk the cocoa, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.
2. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat on medium until hot, whisking occasionally.
3. Stir in the vanilla and serve topped with marshmallows or whipped cream.
The recipe can be multiplied.