Warm-up with a hot cup of chocolate on National Cocoa Day. December 13th ushers in a celebration worthy of the winter holidays.
We make hot cocoa with cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar. However, the terms hot chocolate and hot cocoa are often used interchangeably by Americans, causing a bit of confusion. To make hot chocolate, we use ground chocolate containing cocoa butter. It’s mixed with hot milk and is drinking chocolate.
Hot chocolate is also known as drinking chocolate.
We make hot cocoa from cocoa powder. Through the fermentation, drying, roasting, and grinding process of cocoa beans, we produce a paste called chocolate liquor. Through another method, they separate cocoa butter, leaving cocoa powder. We use this cocoa powder to make hot cocoa. It has very little fat and calories.
Which ever you prefer there is a lot to be said for curling up with a cup of this happiness in a mug. Settle in for a movie, warmup from the cold winter blowing outside. Enjoy in front of a nice fireplace, after Christmas caroling, a shopping trip. Make warm memories with the ones you love. This warm chocolate drink is usually favored by kids and adults.
The Mayans are credited with creating the first chocolate beverage around 2000 years ago. Culturally, cocoa became an essential part of the Aztec civilization by 1400 AD. After the drink found its way from Mexico through the New World, Europeans popularized the chocolate drink. However, it has undergone multiple changes since then. Until the 19th century, drinkers used hot chocolate medicinally to treat ailments such as stomach diseases.
In the United States, an instant form of the drink is popular. Mixed with hot water or milk, the packet contains mostly cocoa powder, sugar, and dry milk. Often, cocoa drinkers add marshmallows or whipped cream.
The health benefits of drinking hot cocoa abound. Cocoa contains significant amounts of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. They have also shown that the cocoa bean helps with digestion. The flavonoids found in cocoa also have a positive effect on arterial health.
Chocolate lovers enjoy both drinking cocoa and hot cocoa in a variety of combinations. Some top the hot drink with whipped cream or marshmallows. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon or peppermint to make the chocolate extra special.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalCocoaDay
Host a cocoa bar after a day outdoors in the snow. A cup of hot cocoa after sledding or building a snowman warms us right up. When we gather around the table and sip our steaming cup, let the conversation begin.
Try some of these delicious toppings:
- Whipped cream
- Cinnamon and sugar
- candy canes
- toffee bits
- Peppermint Patties
- butterscotch candies, crushed
- candy sprinkles
- cinnamon cereal
- mini chocolate chips
- chopped nuts
Share your celebration using #NationalCocoaDay to post on social media.