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Instant Hot Chocolate

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  • David Kahn Jan 14, 2003 05:44 PM
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Sacrilege, I know, but every once in a while I get an urge for hot chocolate while I'm at work (where I can't heat milk, etc.). Is there any chow-wisdom about the various instant (i.e., mix with boiling water) products on the market? I'd like to find something with a really good, deep chocolate flavor that's not too sweet. (Instant Mexican hot chocolate is, I suspect, too much to hope for).

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  1. Do you have a micro-wave? If so you might be able to use Jacques Torre's hot chocolate mix - very much like Mexican hot chocolate . It comes in regular and spicy. If you are really interested and have a micro wave avaiable I'll try making it in mine to see how it works. (such a sacrifice to drink it!!!)

    3 Replies
    1. re: Faren

      Try buying a carton of good chocolate milk and heating some in the microwave. Add cinnamon or marshmallows.

      1. re: Faren

        You can also make your own Jacques Torres mix (although I'm not sure if it's as good as the one he sells, since I haven't tried either). The recipe is at foodtv.com and it was demonstrated on his show. Includes powdered milk, grated chocolate and spices, if you want.

        1. re: Emma

          I made the Jacques Torres Mix to be part of a bunch of Christmas gifts I gave this year. The only difficult part about making the mix is that it calls for Whole dry milk. I searched and searched (internet, posted here, called many stores) and there was none to be found. I have since been informed, by one of the many people whom I asked, that it can be found at the Baker's Catalogue online site (I just checked, and yes, it is there -at http://ww2.kingarthurflour.com/cgibin...).

          As I did not find that out early enough, however, I used nonfat dry milk and found that it was very good when mixed with whole milk. I would assume that if you actually used the whole dry milk, it would be perfect.

      2. One thing I've found is that even cheap mix becomes a lot better looking (and I swear - even tasting) if you froth it up. Buy a small plastic battery-operated (2 AA's) drink mixer (an electric swizzle stick) - available at Wal-Mart for $1.95, and mix the heck out of it - keep a small bag of marshmallows at your desk, and voila!

        1 Reply
        1. re: applehome

          >> ""...keep a small bag of marshmallows at your desk..."

          Why not use the marshmellow fluff? It froths up much easier than the soft mini marshmellows.

        2. Hershey's Cocoa Collection has a packaged dry product that's fairly simple. They have Dutch Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, Cinnamon Chocolate - but I like adding my own cinnamon. To make it just a bit better, I use the Dutch Chocolate and add a little cream (it cools it down just a little, too).

          1. w
            Wendy Leonard

            Trader Joe's has a superb Mexican spiced cocoa sold in a canister--a current favorite with my family. It is not exactly an instant cocoa as it is supposed to be mixed with hot milk but I don't see why you couldn't add powdered milk and hot water.

            1. I made some instant cocoa mix for gifts this year. Most of the recipes I found surfing included non-dairy creamer, which I was opposed to on principle. So I made my recipe up using powdered sugar, non-fat powdered milk, and cocao. Sorry, I already forgot the ratios. YOu would want to play around with it anyway to get the levels of choc. and sugar that suit your taste. It was not the greatest think I ever drank, but good enough, and it was low fat and it worked well just adding water instead of the trouble of heating milk at work.

              You might try Valrhona cocoa if you're serious .

              1. If you're trying to watch your weight (as are many of us), you could go with Swiss Miss sugar free hot cocoa. Be sure to buy the sugar free version, not the fat free kind. The fat free version is disgusting. You can then add extra spices/flavorings for a Mexican twist.

                5 Replies
                1. re: FML

                  why is there such a huge difference in taste between the 2 swiss miss cocoas. i remember reading the nutritional info for both and each had about the same number of calories. neither had added sugar if i remembered; they both used Splenda. i ended up getting the sugar free one, but what is so different about the fat-free version?

                  1. re: m00ncakes

                    i have no idea - but the fat free one does not has an odd chemical taste and consistency is not smooth at all. the sugar free tastes exactly like the normal milk chocolate one to me - just less calories. It's also typically more expensive though.

                    1. re: ebina49

                      as weird as this is I agree.

                    2. re: m00ncakes

                      In the past I was curious about the difference between all of these lower calories hit chocolates, so I checked it out a while back. There are two that are fat free, the Sugar Free on and then there is the Diet version. For Nesle they have the Sugar Free kind (which I think is basically fat free) and there's the Fat Free Kind, which is similar to the Diet version on Swiss Miss. The Sugar Free kinds have 50 cals, the Nestle Fat Free/Swiss Miss Diet only has 25 cals. Now here is the clincher, if you compare the volumn of the product you will find that they only give you about 8g, which the Sugar Free version is double the amount. Thus, double the calories (Swiss Miss charges more for the Diet version than Sugar Free!) and carbs! This got me curious and I looked at the egular Swiss Miss/Nestle packets, and it turns out that in those packets it's 4 times the amount of powder than the Diet version. If you broke down the nutritional information it would be about the same for the Diet/Fat Free. Thus, you are paying more for portion control and you're getting less of the product.

                      1. re: Jacey

                        I've only tried the versions with sugar, but I think Nestles is a lot more chocolatey while Swiss Miss is more sugary.

                  2. For something out of a foil packet, the best I've found is a fancier store brand -- Master Choice (sometimes labeled America's Choice) Double Dutch hot chocolate. That's from memory, the name may be slightly different. If there's a choice between milk chocolate and rich chocolate, it's rich chocolate you want. I found it in A&P stores in New York, but I haven't seen it the last few times I've looked.

                    Significantly better, if you have a microwave, is Ghirardelli's sweet ground chocolate, mixed with boiling water, then add milk, then nuke until hot. That's sort of in between the full production with cocoa, chocolate, etc., and the foil packet.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MichaelB
                      c
                      Caitlin McGrath

                      Ghirardhelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa (just read the name off the canister) is what we use all the time for instant and guilt-free (vs. actual chopped chocolate) hot chocolate, and it is the one I recommend. It has a nicely bittersweet and fairly full flavor, which is important to me; most commercial brands taste more like sugar than chocolate. It's meant to mix with milk, but you could, I'm sure, premix with an appropriate ratio of dried milk and use with boiling water.

                      P.S. If you are relegated to Swiss Miss or the like, it's vastly improved if you make it with hot coffee in place of the water.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        That's exactly what I do at work. I mix the company-sponsored Swiss Miss with the company-sponsored coffee (1/2 packet to one coffee cup). Actually, I'm doing it more to cover up the taste of the Maxwell HOuse than to improve the hot chocolate!

                        1. re: danna
                          c
                          Caitlin McGrath

                          Yeah, I started doing this in the college dining hall, where the hot chocolate was watery and the coffee was bad.

                    2. To me, the key is quanity of cocoa powder. Most of the packets (ie Swiss Miss) are made for 6oz of water. (Too little for my nomral sized mug) I either put in 1.5 packets or, better yet, buy the larger canisters and measure an appropriate amount. Then it is good (for a mix).

                      1. I use the Land-O-Lakes brand and add milk instead of water. Mix with a little tiny whisk until dissolved. Microwave and mix again with the whisk until frothy. Pretty darn good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kim Shook

                          I agree one of the best package brands available. It does make a difference how much you stir. I whisk the hell out of it and top it off with whipped cream.

                        2. I like the version from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. If you don't have one near you, can order online (link below). I think it's just the right amount of chocolate and is very smooth.

                          Link: http://www.coffeebean.com

                          1. I remembered your post while I was shopping at my local Mexican grocer today and happened upon instant Ibarra cocoa in a canister.

                            I will try it tonight and post on the results. (Otherwise, I'm a fan of the Swiss Miss fat free with marshmallows.)

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cookie d'oh

                              Bleech! Unfortunately, Ibarra in a can does not seem remotely related to good, yummy, melted chocolate Ibarra Mexican hot cocoa.

                              1. re: cookie d'oh

                                Thanks anyway. I appreciate your sacrifice!

                            2. Ghirardelli's ground chocolate is pretty darn good if you ask me! It really requires milk, though.

                              Scott

                              Link: http://www.ghirardelli.com/

                              Image: http://www.ghirardelli.com/images/hea...

                              1. My husband had exactly the problem you describe and solved it by mixing Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate with powdered milk, then reconstituting it at work with hot water. We think Cadbury's makes all other hot chocolate taste like molten plastic. Cadbury's is not readily available in the United States but can easily be ordered from any of the US-based merchants that supply British grocery products (search Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate on Google for links to several): your Cadbury's will come to you via UPS.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: N Tocus

                                  Cadbury's is my most favorite hot chocolate mix. I always ask people to bring some back for me when they are in England, but it requires hot milk, so at work I mix a packet of Nestle Rich Chocolate mix (from the cafeteria downstairs) with about 2 oz coffee, 3 oz hot water and 1 oz half and half. It's a decent substitute for the workplace.

                                  1. re: N Tocus

                                    Do you have a rough idea of the ratio of Cadbury's to powdered milk?

                                  2. If it doesn't have to be a dry mix, a squeeze bottle of Hershey syrup and a carton of milk will make a great-tasting, fast hot cocoa, and you can make it as chocolatey as you want.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: kimberlie

                                      My current favorite is the Starbucks cocoa mix, which is excellent made only with boliing water (I like to add a little milk or cream, too). This may be a surprise to anyone who has drunk the dull, powdery hot chocolate that they make in store, but these sachet mixes are much much better. Incredibly velvety and pure chocolate taste, without being super sweet. Five years ago, I think this mix was used in the Starbucks stores, but they've now switched to a syrup base. T
                                      You can purchase in a box of 24 single serve sachets at CVS, and online.

                                    2. I agree that Land-O-Lakes is a good, easy to find brand. But, if you should ever come across it, Stephen's Gourmet Hot Cocoa is worth a try. I use a heaping scoop & top it off with a little milk for added creaminess. Go with the milk chocolate flavor- the chocolate cinnamon is just ok.
                                      http://stephensgourmet.com/

                                      1. I like the Trader Joe's mint hot chocolate. I even drink that at home. Yum, IMO.

                                        1. Try mixing the swiss miss with water, get yourself a little shaker of pumpkin pie spice-
                                          (McKormicks I think), top that baby off with a little hlf n half and you'll be in heaven. I use a lot of the pp spice it's like a cross between Mexican Hot chocolate and chai. When your at home try the same recipe with a little ameretto and whipped cream.

                                          1. We usually have a big can of either Swiss Miss or Nestle cocoa in the kitchen at work, and here lately I've taken a little container of cayenne to add to it. I prefer Nestle over Swiss Miss, just because it doesn't always mix totally just with a spoon so there are nice tasty lumps of unstirred cocoa in it.