There are very few beverages that are as engrained into our collective childhood memories quite like hot chocolate. If you grew up in a frigid part of the country, then it will probably remind you of snow days, sledding, or a quiet day watching the snow fall. Those who grew up in a more tropical climate can appreciate that warm, tingly feeling that a warm cup of hot chocolate provides on those chili Florida nights.
What is it about a hot mug of chocolate in the cold winter months that brings out our smiles? It’s obviously not just the chocolate, because eating a chocolate bar doesn’t provide quite the same feeling. We decided to take a further look and came up with the top 7 reasons to love hot chocolate.
- Cocoa contains flavonoids that not only relax the blood vessels and lowers your blood pressure, but also reduces inflammation in the body.
- It packs a fiber punch. Almost 2 grams of fiber per teaspoon.
- It contains a chemical called epicatechin, which improves cognitive function.
- It can reduce your cravings for something sweet by providing a healthier substitute.
- It helps fight cancer cells. Hot chocolate, especially when consumed at high heat, is loaded with cancer-killing antioxidants. Believe it or not, it actually has double the antioxidants than a glass of red wine, and three times more than a cup of green tea.
- You get to add marshmallows. Let’s be honest. Anytime you have an excuse to enjoy marshmallows, you take it.
- If nothing else, it keeps your hands warm.
After all that talk about hot chocolate, we couldn’t leave you without an incredible hot chocolate recipe to try out.
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed), plus more for serving
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably Scharffen Berger), finely chopped
3 tablespoons demerara or granulated sugar
Lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving)
Bring ¾ cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder until no lumps remain, then add milk and return to a simmer. Whisk in chocolate and sugar and cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is smooth and creamy and chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes.
Divide hot chocolate among mugs. Top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.