Newsflash: Consuming hot chocolate can be good for one’s health!
Ok fine, it’s not new news that chocolate is a daily must for most. In fact, some may consider it an addiction – or at least an obsession – since its sweet,mildly caffeinated creamy goodness is really hard to resist. Some doctors claim that a little before PMS helps the sufferer remain composed. Of course I’ve loved chocolate forever, even before it hit health news as a potent antioxidant. And I love to drink it loaded with kicks and bites! Translation: I spike mine with spice, which makes hot chocolate a beverage that does more than keep the roses in your cheeks.
Cacao: The Fruit Of The Gods
Hot cacao addictions began in South America about 2,000 years ago, when the Mayans blended cacao with hot water to drink. It was nothing like its Nestle counterpart – it was bitter and thick, and fueled with hot pepper and vanilla. By 1400 AD, it was an essential part of Aztec culture, as cacao was considered the “Fruit Of The Gods”. In probably the first ever “try it, you won’t like it, it’s an acquired taste, but you’ll get migraines and the shakes if you try to stop” themed drug push, the Aztecs armed their Spanish visitors with barrels of the stuff to export back to Spain – and the rest, as they say, is histeria.
Swapping the hot spices for cane sugar, keeping the vanilla, and serving cacao in gorgeous little pots made this beverage the must-have for centuries (this, people, was pre-coffee. Imagine the day when the mocha was created? I’ll bet people passed out with happiness. But I digress).
Hot Chocolate VS Hot Cocoa – There Is A Difference!
Before I go any further, I must advise you people that there is a huge difference between “hot cocoa” and “hot chocolate”. “Hot cocoa” is made from powder with most of the rich cocoa butter from the ground cacao beans removed. “Hot chocolate,” on the better hand, is made directly from bar chocolate, which already contains cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter. Thus the major difference between the two is the cocoa butter, which makes hot cocoa significantly lower in fat than hot chocolate, while still preserving all the intrinsic health-giving properties of chocolate. They say fat, I say full-flavor. Raise that chocolate bar!
Chocolate Higher In Antioxidants Than Wine
This post puts my mulled wine post to shame. I bragged about the polyphenols in grape skins and seeds, but they’ve got nothing on chocolate. A study conducted by Cornell University showed that hot chocolate contains more antioxidants than wine and tea, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease ( I would have LOVED to have been part of that study. If anyone has an in, dial me up, ok?). In a single serving of cocoa, the researchers found 611 milligrams of gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of epicatechin equivalents (ECE), compared with 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE in red wine, and 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE in green tea. Here’s another fact that kinds puts my raw-rhetoric to shame: turns out that a larger amount of antioxidants are released when the beverage is heated. I eat it, drink it, and rub it all over me – I’m not complaining!
Sage’s Famous Hot-Hot-Hot Chocolate Recipe
So here we are folks, as promised. My famous beverage for you, containing BOTH cocoa powder and bar. I know you’ll love it!
- 2 1/2 cups organic soy/rice/almond/hemp OR just plain old cow milk
- 1/2 cup chocolate liqeur
- 1 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup organic agave or honey
- 1 TBS unsweetened organic cocoa
- 1 1/2 TSP ground organic cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground organic ancho chili powder
- 2 organic cinnamon sticks
- 1 dried organic red chile – IF YOU DARE, but take it out before serving!
- 2 1/2 ounces organic bittersweet chocolate, in pieces
- 1/4 organic soy whip or cow whip cream
- On medium heat, in a pot whisk milk, liqueur, vanilla, sweetner, cocoa powder, 1 TSP of cinnamon and chili powder.
- Add 2 cinnamon sticks and red chile and gently stir in.
- Add chocolate pieces, whisking again until melted, simmer, and whisk until thickened.
- Add soy or cow whip and keep whisking with remaining 1/2 TSP of cinnamon.
Ladle into cups and enjoy. Disfrutese!