13 Ways To Add Some Excitement To Your Average Cup Of Hot Chocolate
Nothing like a cup of hot chocolate when the weather outside is frightful. But instead of enjoying the same old, sweet drink, enhance flavor, and even health benefits with these genius mix-ins.
Not only will this add a pinch of spice to your hot chocolate kick, but also help increase your core body temperature, speeding up the metabolism and helps burn some extra calories, says Jamila René Lepore, MS, RDN, nutritionist in Tampa, FL.
When Gale Maleskey, RD, a dietitian in Bethlehem, PA, makes hot cocoa, she whisks in ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon per cup. “Research shows this spice helps to reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar sensitivity,” she says. Plus, it gives a sweet, warm flavor that enhances the taste of chocolate, adds Amy Riolo, a chef and cookbook author in Washington, DC.
Add: Cardamom and Cloves
Like the taste of chai? Add ⅛ teaspoon each of these spices to your next cup of cocoa for an herbal flavor that also gives you a health boost, says Riolo. “Both cardamom and cloves have been used in Indian cuisine for centuries as antiseptics, which can be very useful at fighting the common cold and flu.”
Need a boost afternoon? Mochas are a favorite coffee shop, and although it may not occur to you to make one at home is as easy as nailing your cup of cocoa with a shot of espresso or some coffee. “A hint of nutty flavor and complexity is added,” says cookbook author Dina Cheney, whose new book, cup meals out this spring.
There’s a chocolate chip mint ice cream reason is a crowd-pleaser such: The two flavors are a match made in culinary heaven, says Sharon Palmer, RD, a registered dietitian in Los Angeles and author of the ground-Powered for Life . Make a concentrated mint brewing 1 cup fresh mint leaves (or 2 mint tea bags) in ½ cup boiling water. Once spoken, discard the mint leaves or tea bags, and then mix the beer in their hot chocolate instead of part of the liquid. A simpler alternative is the addition of one or two drops of pure peppermint oil or extract your cup of cocoa. Bono: Mint has been shown to combat indigestion.
Add: Coconut Oil
First this wonder-fat found its way into coffee thanks to its energizing, filling, and fat-blasting effects. Now, it’s time to add a tablespoon into hot chocolate, says Deborah Levy, MS, RD, a dietitian in New York City. “It adds a delicious, sweet flavor, plus gives you a dose of medium chain fatty acids, which increase your metabolic rate and are known to help lower heart disease risk,” she says.
Add: Dark Chocolate
Kati Mora, MS, RD, a dietitian in Mount Pleasant, MI, likes to drop a small square of extra-dark chocolate (look for 70% or higher cacao content) into her cup of hot cocoa. “It gives you an even richer chocolate flavor and adds health-promoting antioxidants and polyphenols,” she says.
Add: Almond Butter
For a quick hit of protein—not to mention a delicious nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with chocolate—add a teaspoon of organic almond butter to your hot chocolate saucepan and whisk until fully melted and incorporated. “Almond butter is also an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which will help you stay fuller for longer,” says Jessica Sepel, a nutritionist in Los Angeles.
With 36 aromatic compounds, vanilla does more than add a little extra sweetness to hot chocolate, says Alexandra Jamieson, a certified holistic health counselor and co-creator of the documentary Super Size Me. “Vanilla is a powerful antioxidant, and has a comforting, calming scent,” she says. Add ½ teaspoon per cup.
Add: Orange Extract or Zest
This citrus fruit actually brings out the sweetness in chocolate and at the same time its acidity helps to balance the richness, says Cheney. Add ⅛ teaspoon of extract or the zest of half an orange, per cup.
Add: White Chocolate Liqueur
Go ahead and peak tops adults “with 1 tablespoon white chocolate liqueur, says Kathy Sidell, founder and owner of the restaurant group met in Boston. To be truly gourmet, providing some mini marshmallows and add a handful to each cup and whip your own cream.
Add: Mozzarella Cheese
“Who doesn’t love cheese and chocolate?” asks Martin Gonzalez, a chef in San Diego. It may sound crazy, but he loves adding 4 to 5 pieces of cubed mild white cheese (mozzarella and Monterrey jack work best) to a cup of hot cocoa and serving it with toasted challah bread. “Together, they’re the perfect flavor combo. Just be sure to let the cheese linger in the cocoa for 5 minutes so the flavors fully integrate and the cheese has time to melt.”
In Maman coffee shop and bakery in the city of New York, the chef Armand Arnal dried lavender infused milk, let stand for 15 minutes before straining and add the melted chocolate black. “In addition to adding a boost amazing flavor, lavender also helps fight swelling” he says. “In addition, the herb has a wonderfully soothing aroma that can help relieve anxiety, insomnia, nervousness and depression.”