Hot cocoa? Hot chocolate? I’ve always said hot chocolate, no matter if it’s made with real chocolate or cocoa powder or a mix. I also have always said pop, not soda or soda pop. Potato, potahto I guess. What about you?
Anyway, remember how Dennis and I weren’t planning on having sugar on Valentine’s Day? Well, it would be just be unAmerican not to have any chocolate on the day when the rest of the country is eating 58 million pounds of it. (I know, right?) So, inspired by Faith’s delicious Skinny Caramel Hot Cocoa, I made this plain version for our Valentine’s Day dinner dessert, only changing the basic recipe a smidge to deepen the chocolate flavor (had to make up for our lack of chocolate candy, you know). We like our chocolate dark in this house.
This hot cocoa is so sweet, so chocolatey and delicious, creamy even, that you wouldn’t guess that it’s fat and sugar free. That it’s actually healthy. Protein and calcium-rich milk? Check. The antioxidant power of cocoa powder? Check. Totally natural with no chemical sweeteners? You got it.
I’m usually semi-opposed to healthifying sweet treats because, in my opinion, they’re called treats because they are meant to be enjoyed. Mostly what cutting out fat and sugar does is make them less enjoyable (although I hope to prove my own theory wrong because I’m going to be experimenting soon, given that we’ve nixed sugar in our house!). But when you can do it with such a satisfying result, I’m all for feeling great about drinking something that tastes so sinful.
*A note about stevia: I’m a huge advocate of using stevia to sweeten things, versus chemical sweeteners and even real sugar. This is the ONLY completely natural sweetener out there that is also calorie free. It is taken from the leaves of a plant and it is tremendously sweet so you need much less of it than sugar. I was blessed to win a bunch of NuNaturals products through a giveaway from Renee of My Kitchen Adventures (thank you so much Renee!), and hope to do a review soon with comparisons to other sugar substitutes. NuNaturals products are by far the best I’ve tried and I highly recommend them.
Since I’m not counting calories on the 17 Day Diet, I didn’t calculate them for this cocoa when we drank it, but just going from the labels on the milk and the cocoa (the only things that have calories in the recipe), I can tell you that there is 120 calories, 1 g fat, 22 g carbohydrates, and 2 grams fiber. Not to shabby, and I think you’ll agree that this hot cocoa is totally worth every healthy & delicious calorie.
Skinny Dark Hot Cocoa
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
2 packets NuNaturals NuStevia
Pinch fleur de sel or kosher salt
1 ¼ cups nonfat milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whisk together the cocoa powders, stevia powder, and salt in a small saucepan. Add half the milk and whisk vigorously until the cocoa powder is dissolved. Turn the heat to medium, and whisk in the remaining milk. Heat until the hot cocoa starts to steam (do not boil), and pour into a mug. Enjoy!
For a caramel hot cocoa: stir in ¼ teaspoon caramel extract along with the vanilla at the end.
Recipe source: adapted from An Edible Mosaic
P.S. Happy leap day! I know this is crazy, but this is the first year I’ve actually been aware that it’s a leap year. How did I miss the other seven I lived through? Queen Oblivious here! I know I’m getting random here but did anyone else used to watch the show Quantum Leap? I honestly can’t remember a thing about it except I think I liked it (I was pretty young so maybe it was too mature for me), and I always associated the name with leap year. Did it even have anything to do with a leap year? OK, seriously, I’ll shut up now.