Monday, January 20, 2014
Hot Chocolate vs Hot Cocoa
Because I had nothing better to do today, I decided to compare and contrast hot cocoa and hot chocolate. I always thought (tho I should have known better) that the terms were interchangeable. Of course, this is not true. Cocoa and Chocolate are two different things.
I found this comparison article in an old (December 2007) Fine Cooking magazine I have (I don't have the magazine--I don't keep them THAT long-- but I tore out the article and stuck it in my recipe notebook.
The article states that: Cocoa is by no means a lesser product than chocolate. On the contrary, it's a purer form of chocolate (who knew?).
and then blah blah blah blah blah blah, So ounce for ounce cocoa powder packs a bigger punch of chocolate flavor because you're getting more cocoa solids and less cocoa butter.
It was a fun experiment to do. Very tasty.
Here are my findings:
The hot chocolate was like drinking melted chocolate. It was very thick. Or thicker than Swiss Miss out of a packet anyway.
The Hot chocolate was rich. Like a warm dessert. It's all that cocoa butter.
The hot cocoa was very chocolaty, but not too rich. Neither of these were very sweet tho, which surprised me. If I were doing from scratch again, I would probably add another tablespoon of sugar to the cocoa pan. And a dollop of whipped cream on each!
I liked them both, as did my daughter-in-law (I made her drink/taste both), but where as she liked the hot chocolate best, I kinda went for the hot cocoa.
Neither was hard to make, and just took a few minutes from start to finish.
The truth is tho....I am not a purist and I would probably just grab a packet of Swiss Miss instant cocoa, but make it with milk (never water!) and be happy.
And then there is no pan to clean up! We like what we are used to, don't we?
You'll have to decide for yourself.
Can you tell which one is which just by looking at the photos?
The one on the left is the hot chocolate, the right, with the marshmallows is the cocoa.
Classic Hot Cocoa
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 to 4 Tbs. granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
Put the cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour in 1/4 cup of the milk and whisk continually until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Pour in the remaining milk and whisk to combine. Set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until hot, 4-5 minutes.
For best flavor, do not let the cocoa boil.
Serve hot, topped with mini-marshmallows, if you like.
Rich Hot Chocolate
2 1/2 cups whole milk
3 Tbs granulated sugar (chocolates vary in sugar level, so feel free to add another tablespoon if necessary)
pinch of salt
3 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Put the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until the sugar is melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook until the milk nearly reaches a boil, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes more.
Turn off the heat and add the chocolate to the pan.
Whisk constantly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
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