When the weather gets chilly it’s the perfect time for hot chocolate! However, you do want to green it up and make it a little more healthy right? Here are some ideas…
The problem with cocoa beans
Harvesting cocoa beans for chocolate poses large threats to communities and children. Global Exchange notes that at least 284,000 children are involved in abusive labor conditions in West Africa’s cocoa fields and that conventional cocoa companies pay prices so low that many cocoa farmers cannot meet their families’ basic needs. Fair Trade certified chocolate ends this. Ends forced child labor, ends insufficient prices for cocoa, and means that sustainable production methods are met.
You can buy sustainable, Fair Trade hot chocolate from a number of retailers. Or you can buy Fair Trade cocoa and make homemade hot chocolate.
Homemade hot chocolate with whole chocolate
Mix approximately four squares Fair Trade baking chocolate with two cups organic milk, and three drops of pure vanilla extract. If not sweet enough, you can add a little organic sugar or honey.
For a richer real hot chocolate (but also more expensive) mix one cup organic milk, one cup organic half & half, about eight tsp organic sugar, one oz semisweet Fair Trade chocolate crumbled up or chopped, and one oz unsweetened Fair Trade chocolate, crumbled or chopped in a sauce pan on low, or in double boiler if you tend to walk off while cooking. Heat until sugar dissolves. Add 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract and mix well. You can also blend this after heating in the blender, which makes it more frothy but it also means one more appliance to wash.
Homemade hot chocolate with syrup
Mix a cup of organic milk with three tbsp Fair Trade chocolate syrup. Heat, serve.
Homemade hot chocolate with cocoa powder
You can find any number of homemade cocoa mixes on line, but basically you’ll need 1 tbsp. Fair Trade cocoa powder, 2 tbsp. organic sugar, about a cup of organic milk (give or take), and a wee bit of pure vanilla extract. Combine your cocoa, sugar, and a couple of tbsp of your milk in a saucepan. Heat on low until a paste forms, add the rest of your milk and the vanilla. Heat, serve.
Hot chocolate toppers
Healthy hot chocolate additions
Hot chocolate is more a treat-like drink than anything, although I swear it soothes sore throats better than anything, however, you can make it healthier with these add-ins…
- For soothing a sore tummy add in a few drops of pure organic peppermint extract.
- Sprinkle in some organic dried ginger for morning sickness or general queasy stomach.
- For added protein and vitamin E add in a dollop of organic peanut butter.
- Add in pure organic cherry juice or blueberry juice for an added dose of antioxidants.
- Other good spice additions with multiple health benefits include cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cayenne.
Images: Cocoa#1 ©TerriC via Pixabay / Cocoa#2 ©jill111 via Pixabay / Marshmallows © Dandies