Enjoy Festive Drinks During National Hot Cocoa Day
Today marks National Hot Cocoa Day, a day to celebrate the iconic drink. As the temperatures begin to cool, hot cocoa and hot chocolate make popular treats to stay warm during the winter holidays. Both make for delicious drinks, but they also may be more different than a person might think.
The Differences Between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate brings a full-bodied chocolate flavor, while hot cocoa is sweeter and lighter. These drinks are often mistaken for one another, but their differences stem from their recipes. Hot chocolate is made with melted chocolate, whereas hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder.
Hot cocoa is easy to make at home, but pay attention to the ingredients list on the cocoa mix. When using a premade mix, additives such as corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors are often included to sweeten the flavor. Instead, pure cocoa powder provides a more robust chocolate flavor, bringing better taste and nutrition.
On the other hand, hot chocolate takes more prep time but gives a creamier and more fulfilling taste. Place a selected chocolate flavor in a saucepan and wait for it to melt. Then, bring the melted chocolate together with sugar, milk, and a small amount of vanilla extract, and enjoy the decadent flavor.
When using a premade mix, additives such as corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors are often included to sweeten the flavor. Instead, pure cocoa powder provides a more robust chocolate flavor.
Do Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa Have Caffeine?
All chocolate includes trace amounts of caffeine, and hot chocolate and hot cocoa are no different. The average cup of hot cocoa or hot chocolate has slightly less than half the caffeine of a cup of coffee.
This caffeine can keep a person awake for several hours. Be sure to enjoy a hot chocolate with food and water, especially during the evening.
Does Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa Go Bad?
Cocoa powder won’t go bad if stored properly, but its flavor and quality will decrease over time. Also, like traditional chocolates, if cocoa powder isn’t used, the cocoa butter will separate from the cacao solids.
Premade hot chocolate mixes, on the other hand, may expire. Check the packaging for the inclusion of any dairy products. If the blend includes a dairy product such as powdered milk, the mix will eventually expire, so check the expiration date before use.
When using fresh milk, hot chocolate is safe to make and enjoy. Even chocolate past its best by date is good to use since the cocoa butter, and cacao solids will be brought together again after being melted down.
Where to Enjoy Hot Chocolate During the Holidays
The Dilettante Mocha Café works hard to craft its hot chocolate drinks with time and attention. During the festive holiday season, visit any of our Seattle-area Mocha Cafés and choose between four different chocolate blends to include in a hot chocolate drink.