Thursday, December 6, 2012

Healthy Hot Chocolate

While the thermometer outside would beg to differ, December has officially arrived in Texas. As someone who vehemently despises the cold, you would think I would be thankful for the temperate clime. But guess what, I’m not. Call me a brat, call me hard to please, call me Ishmael; It doesn’t feel like Christmas without a chill in the air. I’m not asking for frostbitten extremities; I just want a temperature that requires closed toed shoes.

Wish and want all I please, the weather is the only thing one of those things I simply cannot control. That being said, what I can control is how I respond to it. So, I have decided to ignore the temperature and act as Buddy The Elf-ish as possible until the weather eventually catches on. While the snowmen might be melting, my holiday spirit is not. And what better way to start than with a steaming mug o’ chocolate?

Before leaving work last night I was hit with a major craving for a cup of the good stuff. And no I don’t mean sizzurp, though it is “Houston’s hometown drank”. The only place I know to get hot chocolate on demand is Starbucks - I've haid theirs before, and it is seriously de-lish. However, it’s also very sugary and pretty high in calories. And since I would like to get through the holidays without being mistaken for Santa, I wanted to attempt a healthier version of this Christmas classic. Something I could enjoy guilt-free through the new year and beyond. Thus I began my search at the healthiest place I know: Whole Foods.

I went into WF knowing I wanted to use chocolate almond milk as my base and decided to “wing” the rest. I know, I'm spontaneous. After securing my chocolate milk, I wandered over to the tea/coffee/other-stuff-you-mix-with-water-and-drink aisle to peruse some possible additions to the mix. After lots of browsing and some semi-awkward picture taking, I settled on peppermint chocolate tea and dark drinking chocolate. I left the store an embarrassing-amount-of-money-to-spend-on-chocolate poorer, excited to try my hand at some healthy hot choc.

Don't mind me taking pictures on the floor
I will spare you the details of my super scientific completely made up process and skip to the end result: a very delicious 16 ounce cup o’ Christmas cheer for just 160 calories. Not bad considering a 16 ounce skinny hot chocolate without whip cream from Starbucks has 240 calories. Plus now that I have all the ingredients on hand I can make hot chocolate three times a day whenever the mood strikes!

While the recipe below is for a single serving, it could easily be multiplied to make a batch for the whole family or for guests at a holiday gathering. You could even add peppermint sticks or a sprig of mint if you’re feeling extra wild. Just stick to this base and you can’t go wrong!

1 cup chocolate almond milk
1 cup water
2 bags peppermint chocolate tea (peppermint tea would probably work as well)
1 tablespoon drinking chocolate

1. Add chocolate milk, water and tea bags to a saucepan
2. Cook on medium high heat until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan
3. Add drinking chocolate and reduce to a simmer until drinking chocolate has been absorbed
4. Remove tea bags, let cool and enjoy!

Side note: I enjoyed my hot choc while watching Lawless - certainly not required but highly encouraged. Hot chocolate and Tom Hardy? Merry Christmas to MYSELF.

In case you were wondering, I'm also British

What’s your favorite holiday treat? Do you like to “healthify” your indulgences or just go for the real deal? Do you have Tom Hardy's phone number?