What is winter without hot chocolate? My kids absolutely love it, but we haven’t had it in a really long time because we’ve been cleaning up our diet and the stuff that comes in those pouches and mixes doesn’t jive with our new dietary choices.
As I’ve been learning about sweeteners, we’ve kicked the bad guys to the curb. The first to go was the worst offender – high fructose corn syrup. Next up were those chemical sweeteners (Sweet N Low, Equal, Splenda, Truvia, Xylitol, Erythritol, Maltodextrin) but natural sugars are pretty tough on the body as well. These include white table sugar, cane sugar, brown rice syrup and agave nectar. Sugar consumption is linked to all kinds of health problems, but most notably, it worsens symptoms for those suffering from ADD and ADHD and compromises immune systems making it easier for our kids to catch “whatever is going around.” Bah – humbug, right? Stick with me.
There are a few sweeteners that are better for you and we’ve been experimenting with them around our house. These are coconut sugar, real maple syrup, monk fruit, raw honey, and stevia.
We also discovered cacao powder (vs. cocoa) which has some wonderful health benefits including protein, antioxidants, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and natural fiber. Add this to a healthier sweetener and we made a chocolate syrup that I feel really good about!
We made it as a family recently and it was delicious! My picky crowd gave it a TEN! So we wanted to pass along the recipe.
Healthier Chocolate Syrup
by Anna Kate Behnke (age 5 1/2)
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1 1/2 cups organic cacao (we used Organic Cacao Powder by Better Body Foods)
2 cups sweetener (we used coconut sugar)*
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
* if using honey, stevia or monk fruit you will need much less. Start with 1/2 cup and adjust to your liking.
- Combine water, cocoa, sweetener, pinch of salt and vanilla in a sauce pan over medium high heat. ( if using a liquid sweetener that does not need to dissolve, add it after step 3)
- Bring to a boil, whisking continually
- Reduce heat and cook for five minutes until sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat.
- Pour into a mason jar and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
This syrup is wonderful to add to milk for hot chocolate and chocolate milk (or unsweetened plant milks). It is also great over ice cream! Cozy up with a cup this winter and feel good about nourishing your family with a healthy alternative to other powders and syrups.