Sunday, November 1, 2009

Guilt-Free Cocoa...!

Now that summer is over, the patio furniture has been put away, and the ice has stopped clinking in the lemonade pitchers, it's time for that other necessity of life -- cocoa. There is almost nothing more wonderful than a rich, dark, hot cup of cocoa. No -- not hot chocolate -- real cocoa, made with 100% cocoa. Have you ever read the ingredients on a package of instant hot chocolate? Modified milk ingredients, milk powder, cocoa, carrageenan, salt, artificial flavor, sucralose, acesulfame-potassium (huh?), soy and wheat. I don't know what half of those are. The ingredients in cocoa powder? Cocoa.

The Aztecs called chocolate the food of the gods, and Moctezuma, the Aztec emperor, drank cocoa from a golden goblet, served with a golden spoon. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a cup of hot cocoa is full of powerful antioxidants. A study of 8,000 Americans found that cocoa may even extend life. In another study done by Dr. Chang Yong Lee at Cornell University, cocoa had twice as many antioxidants as red wine, and three times as many as green tea. In yet another study published in Science Daily, cocoa contains a compound called epicatechin, and apparently the health benefits of this compound rival the benefits of penicillin. Dr. Norman Hollenberg, a professor medicine at Harvard Medical school, spent years studying the benefits of cocoa on the Kuna people in Panama. He found that the risk of four of the five most common killer diseases: stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, is reduced to less then 10% in these folks, and they drink up to 40 cups of cocoa a week.

Well, my goodness, is there any more proof that drinking cocoa -- guilt-free -- is actually good for us? Besides warming our bodies and souls, this wonderful food actually provides health benefits. Who knew! When I was a little girl, my father's cure for anything was a cup of cocoa, made from scratch using Fry's cocoa powder. And he always served it in an antique cocoa set that had belonged to his family. It was quite a special ritual, and no matter what ailment my brothers and I were suffering from, my Dad's cup of cocoa always did the trick. I still use his recipe and it's wonderful.

1. 1 heaping tablespoon of Fry’s cocoa powder.
2. 1 heaping tablespoon of finely granulated sugar
3. Dash of salt
4. 1 tablespoon of boiling water
5. 1/2 teaspoon of real vanilla extract
6. 1 cup of hot milk (2% is good)
7. Whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired

In a pot on the stove, over medium high heat, mix the cocoa powder, sugar and water. Add a little milk, stirring well. Add the remaining milk, and heat until steaming hot, but do not allow it to boil. Pour the cocoa into your favorite mug and add some whipped cream or marshmallows if you wish. Enjoy! Cocoa, what a body needs...


PurestGreen said...

Hooray for chocolate! You can also make a great guilt free chocolate pudding with skimmed milk, cocoa, sugar, and cornflour. Just don't eat it in the evening because it will keep you up for hours. If you really want to give your body a boost, look into raw chocolate. Swoon!

Jo said...

PurestGreen, oh goodness yes! Manna from Heaven, literally -- raw chocolate. :-)

greenpanda said...

ARGH, I want some chocolate now. Needing it for stress!

Good idea Jo, you always have great relevant topics. :D

Alissa said...

I've never much cared for hot cocoa, but I've always had that horrible instant crap. I am going to have to try out your father's recipe!

Jo said...

Stephen, cocoa will just do the trick. I'm sure you have Fry's cocoa powder in England. :-)

Alissa, oh, yes. It's wonderful. It's almost pure chocolate, and so good.

JeannetteLS said...

The cocoa set did me in! My mom used to flood the backyard in winter--our own ice skating rink. My two best friends and I would skate and Mom would call us into the cellar. It had pine paneling and the furnace meant it was always warm. There would be a card table, table cloth, her fine hot chocolate set, egg salad sandwiches with cutoff crusts. And we would DINE. Ther REAL deal. I'm with you all the way there! There you go again, JO. Evoking a wonderful memory. Stop saying you are not a writer. It's bunk. So there.

Land of shimp said...

Alissa, do try it, it's an entirely different beverage.

Jo, just the other day my son asked me if I would show him how I make hot cocoa, because I've always made hot cocoa from from cocoa powder sugar (or splenda for my son) a tiny pinch of salt, a tiny dash of vanilla, and a dollop of whipped cream.

There's something about an actual cup of cocoa that is very substantial, and makes the recipient feel cared about.

When I was done showing my son how to make actual hot chocolate he said, "That's it? Really? I thought there would be more to it than that."

I can't think of a nicer compliment.

Deb said...

I'm off to purchase cocoa tomorrow to warm my soul and fill my tummy!

Canarybird said...

Mmmm that sounds so good Jo!
I'm saving your dad's recipe. Thank you for sharing it with us. I will look forward to some chilly days here so I can try it.

Jennifer D said...

Yummm! I think I'll make some tonight.

Marguerite said...

Oh, I absolutely love cocoa and can't wait to try this recipe! Nice cocoa set, too! Thanks so much for sharing, Jo!

Hilary said...

Oooh vanilla. I never thought to add that.. until now. ;) I refuse to add whipped cream though.. because I know I'd just love it TOO much.

Donna B said...

Oh Jo, sounds so wonderful!!! I copied and pasted it to my recipes. Hopefully I can find the Fry's Cocoa Powder...Thanks!

A human kind of human said...

Oh dear, what to do? I read this at work and now I will have to wait until I get home this afternoon for a cup of cocoa. Thank you for the recipe. The addition of salt is new to me, so I will definitely try it.

Mean Mama said...

Hi Jo, Love the last few posts. I have been incommunicado because of school and kids.
My great grandma left me a 'chocolate set' because she knew how much I loved chocolate. I never knew what it was for. I thought it was just some old fashioned tea pot, that was way to small to be useful. Well, now I know. I grew up on packets of swiss miss and recently read the back of my Hershey's cocoa box, and made myself a cup of "real" hot cocoa. OH My! what a difference! I'm going to have some now.

Firefly said...

Even though summer is starting to unpack its suitcase and we are switching to cold drinks, I will try out your cocoa.

Russell said...

As a child, my mother served me a cup (or two) of hot cocoa every morning. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in a high chair and drinking cocoa from a porcelain cup with my name on it.

I was amazed that other children I knew did not drink cocoa at breakfast.

noteither said...

Jo, your recipe looks warm and relaxing. I love it :-)

Small City Scenes said...

Hi JO, you know I am not a real Chocolate lover but I do love a good cup of cocoa. And we always made it from scratch too. Such a beautiful set you have pictured.

I see you mentioned somewhere you grew up in Port Alberni. I remember that town as it is etch on my brain. My father died there in hospital. We were camping out somewhere by a lake and in the middle of the night he got very ill and fortunately for us we were able to flag down a trucker and off we went into town. I was just a kid so that was many years ago. We kept ties with a few friends we made but that was years ago. My sis lives in Kelowna.
Long comment but thanks for the space. MB

Jo said...

♦ Jeanette, what a wonderful story! Goodness! We had an outdoor skating pond near where I lived, and the best part was coming home to the hot chocolate. Wonderful memories, hey?

♦ Alane, real hot chocolate made from cocoa is wonderful, isn't it? I use artificial sweetener sometimes too, just to cut down on the sugar, and it tastes just as good.

♦ Deb, yes, yes, yes...! Now that it's winter ... but, who needs an excuse to drink cocoa!? :-0

♦ Sharon, cocoa ... it does a body good! Did you hear the Olympic flame was in Port Alberni yesterday? And they transported it to Tofino on -- ta-da -- a logging truck! *heh*

♦ Jennifer, it is DELICIOUS. :-)

♦ Marguerite, the cocoa set makes all the difference, and makes it even more delicious, somehow. :-)

♦ Hilary, some people even add a pinch of chili powder, believe it or not, and it's amazing. Whipped cream is my weakness, and I can't even have it in the house. :-)

♦ Donna, you might not have Fry's in the States, but you would have the equivalent. Enjoy!

♦ A Human ... a pinch of salt is good in coffee too. It adds something and makes it richer.

♦ Mean Mama, nice to see you back. :-) Also, you might want to have the cocoa set appraised. They are usually worth anywhere from $800 to upwards of $1,000 or more!

♦ Firefly, I think you can even make it with cold milk, and ice, and have iced cocoa. :-)

♦ Russell, what a cute story! Your mother probably made the same recipe that my dad made. And we had cocoa every morning too. It wasn't breakfast without cocoa.

♦ Noteither, you should give it a try. I think you would love it!

♦ MB, omigoodness! I'm so sorry your dad passed away -- and in Port Alberni. You must have been camping by Sproat Lake. It's beautiful there. What a sad memory to have of PA. I hope the folks there were good to you.

Nancy said...

Oh my, this brings back memories and my grandmother's cocoa. I am off to make a cup. Thanks for the recipe.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Mmmm, I love real cocoa. And I have an antique chocolate set that looks very much like yours. And oh, I'll be right there!

jackc50 said...

with my winter wine and mugs of hot cocoa i''ll defy the cold and nasty weather and live to be 100.......thanks for the recipe jo, now it's time to pull the covers to my chin....jack c

Alicia said...

I haven't had real cocoa since I was a child. I'm going to pick some up next time I'm in the store and enjoy my winter!

Paula Slade said...

Jo, chocolate and cocoa are definitely at the top of my food pyramid! ;-)