Hot chocolate is a heated beverage typically made of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water and sugar. Drinking chocolate is similar to hot chocolate but is made from melted chocolate shavings or paste rather than a powdered mix that’s soluble in water.
Hot chocolate is also known as hot cocoa or just cocoa or chocolate milk). It is said that the first chocolate beverage was believed to have been created by the Mayans around 2000 years ago and a cocoa beverage was an essential part of Aztec culture by 1400 AD. Thus the beverage became popular in Europe after being introduced from Mexico in the New World and since then gone multiple changes in the recipe.
Until the 19th century, hot chocolate was even used medicinally to treat ailments such as stomach diseases. Today, hot chocolate is consumed throughout the world and comes in multiple variations including the very thick cioccolata densa served in Italy, and the thinner hot cocoa that is typically consumed in the United States. Americans use the terms "hot chocolate" and "hot cocoa" interchangeably.
In other places, a distinction is made between "hot cocoa", made from powder made by removing most of the rich cocoa butter from the ground cacao beans, and "hot chocolate", made directly from bar chocolate, which already contains cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter. Thus the major difference between the two is the cocoa butter, whose absence makes hot cocoa significantly lower in fat than hot chocolate, while still preserving all the antioxidants found in chocolate.
Hot chocolate can be made with dark, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces and stirred into milk with the addition of sugar. American instant hot cocoa powder often includes powdered milk or other dairy ingredients so it can be made without using milk. In the United Kingdom, "hot chocolate" is a sweet chocolate drink made with hot milk or water, and powder containing chocolate, sugar, and powdered milk.
"Cocoa" usually refers to a similar drink made with just hot milk and cocoa powder, then sweetened to taste with sugar. In the United States, the hot chocolate drink is popular in instant form, made with hot water or milk from a packet containing mostly cocoa powder, sugar, and dry milk. This is the thinner of the two main variations. It is very sweet and may be topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, or a piece of solid chocolate.
Hot chocolate was first brought to North America as early as the 17th century by the Dutch, but the first time colonists began selling hot chocolate was around 1755. Traditionally, hot chocolate has been associated with cold weather, winter, and dessert in the United States, and is now rarely drunk with meals. In Mexico, hot chocolate remains a popular national drink.
Besides the instant powder form, traditional Mexican hot chocolate includes semi-sweet chocolate, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla. Hot chocolate of this type is commonly sold in circular or hexagonal tablets which can be dissolved into hot milk, water or cream, then blended until the mixture develops a creamy froth. Mexican cinnamon hot chocolate is traditionally served alongside a variety of Mexican pastries known as pan dulce and in Spain with churros.
For preparing this luscious chocolaty drink, firstly combine all of the dry ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder) together and mix well with a fork until no lumps remain. Add a tablespoon or two of the rice or the almond milk and stir it thoroughly to a paste.
Add the remaining of the rice milk and stir it until well smooth. Warm over very low heat for about 20 minutes (the longer you heat it, the smoother it will get) stirring it periodically. Finally top up with boiling water to make 1 cup and stir well.
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Chocolate is an ingredients that most bakers love to use in a variety of delicious recipes that includes Chocolate milk, Chocolate gorilla cappuccino, Chocolate mousse, Chocolate milkshake and chocolate ice-cream etc. Today, hot chocolate in the form of drinking chocolate or cocoa is considered a comfort food and is widely consumed in many parts of the world.
While hot chocolate is generally consumed for pleasure, there is several potential health benefits associated with drinking hot chocolate. A 2003 study from Cornell University found that cocoa contains large amounts of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. Also, the Cocoa Bean has demonstrated evidence that it helps with digestion.
From the 16th to 19th centuries, hot chocolate was valued as a medicine as well as a drink. Today, hot chocolate is consumed for pleasure rather than medicinally, but new research suggests that there may be other health benefits attributed to the drink. On the other hand, several negative effects can be attributed to drinking hot chocolate. Hot chocolate contains high amounts of sugar.