I have a deeply woven desire to know what's in my food, and to make conscious decisions about what I consume. Mass-produced foods have one main purpose: shelf life. And in many parts of the world, kids grow up on products that are 1. made to last in a package, and 2. can be so easily replicated in a more wholesome manner if product longevity is no longer an issue.
For example, hot chocolate. The powdered mix I scooped out of a canister, and combined with boiling water to instantly make one of my winter comfort staples, has a rather complicated ingredient label (see exhibit A):
SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (MAY CONTAIN COCONUT, PALM KERNEL AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL), MODIFIED MILK INGREDIENTS, COCOA, CELLULOSE GUM, SALT, SILICON DIOXIDE, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, MONO- AND DI-GLYCERIDES, GUAR GUM, SODIUM ALUMINUM SILICATE.
Ok, now let's try my option. Honey-sweetened and topped with hand whipped cinnamon-infused cream, it has an impossibly short ingredient list, no refined sugar, and is ready in under ten minutes; it's well worth the time and effort. The recipe yields one large mugful, or two small ones.
With my taste buds as my guide, this is the official inception of a new bi-weekly series, in which I will attempt to clone kitchen essentials and/or favorites, normally found pre-made, in a way that's more healthful and flavorful. If you have any ideas or suggestions you'd like me to try out (sans meat, please), send them my way.
Eet smakelijk, hungry people!
for the hot chocolate
- 250 ml milk
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used Dutch-process)
- 2 tsp best-quality vanilla extract (Yes, it matters. Taylor & Colledge is my favorite)
for the whipped cream
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp honey
In a small saucepan over low to medium-low heat (depending on stove), heat milk until warm. Whisk in honey until dissolved, then whisk cocoa powder into mixture until no lumps remain. Let cook for 2-3 more minutes until little bubbles form around the edges and the mixture is steaming. Taste, and add more honey if you prefer a sweeter taste. Turn off stove, and whisk in vanilla extract (the best flavor will exist if the vanilla is minimally cooked). Pour into in a cheery mug, spoon or pipe cream liberally over the top, and serve immediately (preferably to yourself).