Most hot chocolate mixes are filled with processed sugars, natural flavors, emulsifiers, and more. To put it bluntly, they don’t cut it. That’s why we choose to make our own nourishing hot chocolate recipe at home!
For example, let’s take a look at a Swiss Miss packet. The first two ingredients in Swiss Miss are sugar and corn syrup. There are 28 grams of sugar per serving. The recommended added sugar for your kiddo is AT MOST 25 grams per day, which means this one cup of cocoa would be one full day’s worth of sugar plus some.
Swiss Miss also has mono- and diglycerides, which are emulsifiers that likely contain artificial trans fats. Our bodies are unable to break these fats down adequately, so they can contribute to cardiovascular disease and increase inflammation.
Swiss Miss also contains natural flavors, which are made to manipulate our sense of taste and addict us and can contain many solvents and preservatives.
Basically, homemade hot chocolate is NOTHING like Swiss Miss.
Yes, homemade hot chocolate is a treat, but when made with high quality ingredients, it isn’t something to feel guilty about. In fact, homemade, nourishing hot chocolate is one of our go-to drinks for sick kiddos.
And as a bonus we’ve added a homemade marshmallow recipe. It’s made with 100% grass-fed gelatin and sweetened with maple syrup or honey. It’s free of corn syrup, artificial sugars, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. Wondering why marshmallows include artificial colors? So are we! And marshmallows are surprisingly easy to make at home!
We hope you enjoying making this nourishing hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows recipe!
Quality Ingredients Matter
The simple, minimally processed ingredients in this homemade hot chocolate recipe make all the difference. There is a reason we love making drinks, baking goodies, and cooking at home: we get to choose the best ingredients possible!
Ounce for ounce, cacao is the undisputed antioxidant champion. If raw, organic, and minimally processed, cacao has more antioxidant benefits than berries. This is one of the many reasons we consider dark chocolate and cacao a SuperHero Food!
Raw cacao powder is not the same as the generic cocoa powder you make brownies or see in box chocolate cake mixes. What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? Processing. Basically, in cacao powder the cacao bean is less processed at a lower temperature and retains more of its nutrients.
What kinds of nutrients are in cacao and its dark chocolate form?
- Minerals: iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
- Theobromine (also found in coffee beans, some teas, and guarana berries) provides a mental and physical boost similar to caffeine that lasts longer and is milder. It may increase blood flow to the brain and boost creativity.
- Flavonols (a type of antioxidant) promote skin health. Flavonols improve blood flow and reduce sun damage. Cocoa butter is also an ideal skin moisturizer and rejuvenator.
Pure cacao even has antimicrobial effects for the mouth, which can support the health of your teeth by preventing cavities and tooth decay.
We love the Good Stuff Cacao brand. Nativas and Kiva make high quality organic cacao, too.
Raw, Grass-fed Milk
Raw milk can be difficult to come by, especially in certain states. Critics of raw milk say that it can contain harmful bacteria because it has not been pasteurized, which can pose health risks. However, conventional milk likely comes from CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) where cows live in terrible, disgusting conditions. Mastitis (udder infection) is common. The two most common sources of pathogens in milk (that necessitate pasteurization) are manure & mastitis.
Milk that comes from local farmers who care for pasture-raised cows and intentionally leave their milk raw for direct consumption is very different from commercialized milk. These farmers prioritize good hygiene for their cows, and cleanliness for the farm and milking practices so that contamination is very unlikely. They also regularly test their milk. If you can’t find raw milk or don’t choose to consume it, the next best option is organic, grass-fed, whole milk. A2 milk is also easier to digest. Grass-fed milk has a higher nutrient density than conventional milk. Also, conventional milk may contain traces of antibiotics because of the higher use of the medications in crowded feedlots.
Coconuts have one of the highest plant-based sources of saturated fats and have a small amount of plant-based proteins. Coconuts are high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are unique fats that break down fast and directly absorbed by the intestines. They are a quick energy source, may boost brain function, and may promote weight loss.
Coconut milk is high in essential minerals such as copper, iron, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and particularly manganese.
Coconuts have antimicrobial effects and boost the immune system. They are antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal and contain antioxidants that slow down damage from free radicals and may be cancer preventing.
Using coconut milk in your homemade hot chocolate adds a lovely coconut flavor, too!
Why don’t we recommend other plant-based milk alternatives?
Most oat milk, nut milks, and soy milk contain seed oils and gums. Most oat and soy milks are made with conventional oats and soy that test high in glyphosate. Also, these plant-based milks have little nutritional value and are taking the place of a much more nutrient dense food. Lastly, most of these nut milks require a great deal of processing, and we always try to choose foods that are less processed.
Honey has been valued for centuries. It has been used as a natural sweetener and also as medicine. Buying local, raw honey from your area is the BEST. If you get local honey, it can help build up your immunity to common allergens in your area by introducing your body to the pollen from local bees.
When honey is processed (pasteurized and ultra filtered), like most of the honey sold at the supermarket, many of the nutrients are lost. Raw honey contains small amounts of antioxidants, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, riboflavin, and niacin. These nutrients help to neutralize free-radical damage and provide essential vitamins and minerals to keep the body healthy.
The components in honey have been reported to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antimetastatic effects. Honey has been known to treat infections, sore throats, asthma, wounds and more.
Maple syrup is a great source of manganese and contains calcium, potassium, and zinc. It is rich in antioxidants, so it may help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage, which translates to less aging and better health.
When buying maple syrup, choose the darker Grade B maple syrups because they contain more beneficial antioxidants than the lighter syrups. For the record, the Aunt Jemima brand doesn’t cut it. It’s not real maple syrup; it’s just corn syrup that’s been modified with natural or artificial flavors to mimic the real thing. We recommend Coombs Family Farms Maple Syrup or another organic brand that is labeled as pure maple syrup.We like to use maple syrup in baking and to drizzle over oatmeal. But beware! Most conventional syrup that you buy at the store is just corn syrup with maple flavoring, so always read the ingredient labels.
When you use high quality ingredients, homemade hot chocolate becomes a wonderful treat full of healthy fats, minerals, antioxidants, and more. Invite your kids to make a cup with you and enjoy the time spent together!
Nourishing Hot Chocolate Recipe:
- 1 cup raw, grass-fed milk
- OR 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp organic cacao
- 1/2 tbsp organic maple syrup (can be adjusted to taste)
- OR 1/2 tbsp raw honey
- a pinch of salt
- A drop or two of vanilla extract (optional)
- A dash of cinnamon powder (optional)
- Mint leaves/a splash of strong mint tea (optional)
- Bee pollen (optional)
- Steam the milk or warm it gently on the stovetop.
- Once the milk is warm but not hot, stir or whisk in the raw cacao and honey until they dissolve. Make sure to stir the liquid until the honey dissolves so that it doesn’t sit in the bottom of the pot.
- Be careful–don’t let it boil or get too hot, otherwise, it will start to cook the cacao and honey.
- Once the liquid is warm and the cacao and honey are dissolved, add any optional flavorings.
- Sip and enjoy!
- Grease a 9×13 pan with coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of warm water. I gently heat mine on a burner for just under a minute. You want it just slightly warm to the touch.
- Then add the grass-fed gelatin to the warm water and gently mix it for a few seconds. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Next, add the remaining 1/2 cup of water, maple syrup (or honey) and sea salt to a saucepan and bring to a very low boil (especially if you are using raw honey.) As it slightly boils, continue to whisk this mixture for about 5-8 min.
- Now use a standing mixer or hand mixer to blend the water/gelatin mixture at low speed and slowly pour the honey/water mixture into the mixing bowl. Mix for another 10-15 minutes. It will slowly start to thicken and lighten in color.
- At the end of your mixing, add vanilla and then quickly pour the mixture into your greased pan.
- Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours (we let ours sit overnight).
- Cut with a knife into small squares.
- Store these marshmallows in a glass jar with a lid on your counter. They last about 2 weeks.