A Visit to Ghana for a Hot Chocolate Recipe

If you’re a regular reader, you know by now that we are a chocolate-loving household. So naturally, we also love hot chocolate. But it’s a rare treat for us because commercial hot chocolate mixes are too sweet. When I do make it, the good stuff requires melting chocolate. I don’t drink much besides water and some decaf iced tea that I make, but I appreciate the occasional hot chocolate. Michael, on the other hand, loves it and would drink it every winter day, given the opportunity. Unfortunately, he isn’t too adept in the kitchen and hates to bother me to make this for him.

The best hot chocolate you’ll ever have

A few months ago, I came across a recipe for hot cocoa powder, but dismissed it at the time since it called for loads of sugar and looked like a bit of work. When Michael suggested we exchange Christmas gifts this year, I thought about this recipe. I’d already given away the magazine (and VegNews doesn’t put their recipes online), so after some searching, I pieced together what has proven to be a most enjoyable hot chocolate powder mix so that Michael can easily make it anytime he’d like.

Visiting a fair trade cocoa plantation in Ghana. If you’ve ever had Divine chocolate, your cocoa beans came from here.

A whole chocolate pod starts as this tiny flower that grows directly from the limb or trunk of the tree. The flower in this picture is the size of a dime.

The inside of the pod has an edible membrane covering each cocoa bean that tastes like mango.

I did a test batch to make sure I had the proper powder ratios, calculated the powder to milk ratio, and figured out the heating and mixing instructions. Then I set about finely grating 4 bars of chocolate on the fine shredded side of a box grater, which requires a lot of patience, but the payoff is well worth the effort. (Note: No other method effectively works. I tried a food processor which melted some of it and left chunky bits. I also tried a chopper, which resulted in inconsistent pieces ranging from dust to chocolate chips. Trust me, the grater or a microplane is the way to go.)

In addition to grated chocolate, the other key ingredient is a thickener; otherwise the mix is too watery. I packaged it up in a  wintery tin, printed out the instructions and glued them to the back of a wintery picture, and gave it to Michael to enjoy on wintery days. (And yes, I ate chocolate while concocting the mix and typing this post.)

After the pods are opened and the beans are fermented in a pile under banana leaves, they are dried on a table before bagging.

Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe

  • 300 gr. finely grated 80% Equal Exchange Panama chocolate
  • 120 gr. Equal Exchange cocoa powder
  • 24 gr. Stevia
  • 60 gr. Date sugar
  • 52 gr. Arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 11 gr. Ground vanilla beans

12 servings of 1/3 c. powder to 1 ½ c. milk

To Prepare 1 serving:

  • Put 1 1/2 c. milk in 2 cup measuring cup.
  • Microwave for 1 minute.
  • Whisk 1/3 c. cocoa mix, mixing thoroughly.
  • Microwave for 1 minute and stir.
  • Microwave about 1 minute longer or until hot.
  • Enjoy!

For one serving:

  • 1 oz. finely grated 80% chocolate
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 t. stevia
  • 1 t. date sugar
  • 1 ½ t. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • ½ t. ground vanilla beans (or if making immediately, 1 t. vanilla extract)

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