Baby, it's cold outside! And what better way to ward off the winter chill than rugging up on the lounge with a mug of steaming hot chocolate and the Netflix control? It's the one time of year when chocolate consumption is a necessity, not a treat, right? Read on to discover the best, quickest and most indulgent hot chocolate recipe ever, using your BIBO water bar.
Believe it or not, it's the Mayans who we've got to thank for this velvety liquid goodness. They were the ones who first discovered the delights of drinking chocolate over 2500 years ago in the area now known as Mexico. The clever Mayans ground up cocoa beans from the cacao tree and mixed them with water, cornmeal and chilli peppers before boiling up the mixture. By repeatedly pouring it back and forth between two pots, they created a thick foam which had a refreshing, but bitter taste served cold.
OK, so to be honest they lost us at the chilli peppers and their chilly (see what we did there?) concoction was a far cry from today’s hot chocolate. Astonishingly, the idea of sweetening it and serving it hot didn’t occur to anyone for another 1000 years and that was only after it had been shipped to Europe where it was revered by Spanish nobility. Over 200 years later still, in England, milk was first added, making it more like the creamy mugs of cocoa we enjoy now.
Fast forward to today and the Australian chocolate market alone is worth over $3 billion a year, with over two-thirds of all adults tucking into some each month. What the other third is doing is a mystery.
choc full of nutrition
But whereas a bar of your regular milk choc isn’t going to be much help in our battle to stay in shape, the hot chocolate you make with your BIBO water bar actually has a surprising number of health benefits. Who knew?
1. Cocoa powder is loaded with minerals including iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium and manganese. It also contains soluble fibre to aid digestion.
2. Very few foods are richer than chocolate in antioxidants. In fact there isn’t a single fruit that has a higher level. These neutralise free radicals and prevent cell damage.
3. The flavanols chocolate contains help with circulation and lower blood pressure. They even protect the skin to reduce sun damage.
4. Cocoa can lower the risk of heart disease by decreasing harmful cholesterol thereby protecting the lining of the arteries in the heart.
5. Chocolate makes you smarter! A recent study found that those who consumed cocoa for five days had increased blood flow to the brain and improved cognitive function. It can also help elderly people who already have some brain impairment.
So don’t let anyone tell you that a steaming cup of chocolate whipped up with the aid of your trusty BIBO water bar on a nippy night isn’t good for you and the kids.
best hot chocolate recipe ever
Using your BIBO water bar, this recipe takes around 30 seconds and produces the ultimate in hot chocolate indulgence.
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp granulated sweetener
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml ounces hot water, just off the boil
1 tbsp single cream
Place all the dry ingredients into a mug, add vanilla extract and fill nearly to the top with pure, filtered water that’s not quite boiling from your BIBO water bar (you can program your BIBO to deliver water at the exact temperature you require). Then, stir in the cream and you have the perfect treat. You won’t believe it’s only 68 calories – most hot chocolates are nearer 200!
And best of all, you don’t have to wait forever for the milk to heat up and then be left with a pan to scrub clean.
whip it up
If you don’t mind a few extra calories, ladle on some whipped cream and crumble a Cadbury’s Flake bar over the top. Or delight the kids (and the big kids too!) with some mini marshmallows floating on top.
Another irresistible idea is to halve the amount of water, add a little more cocoa and sweetener and double the cream to make a gooey sauce for vanilla ice cream. Or, cool the sauce in the fridge for an hour and you’ll have a decadent dip for strawberries or bananas.
One word: YUMMO!