There are not many things I will miss about winter, but curling up with a good cup of hot chocolate is one of them.
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Of course, it's still quite cold in our neck of the woods on this first day of spring, so I reserve the right to continue to sip at hot chocolate for a while. Especially since I have not yet finished our latest box of cocoa mix: Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, Dark Chocolate Sensation.
I think our family had slipped into a hot chocolate rut, if such a thing is possible. Because we all like to drink hot chocolate: Mom, Dad and five year old daughter, we tend to buy the more inexpensive brands, either in a tin or in individual packets. Swiss Miss has been the brand of choice for the past few winters, and we usually go for the fat free version or the milk chocolate with marshmallows (though we always end up adding more marshmallows!).
But not long ago, while shopping for tea at Wal-Mart, my attention was drawn to the Swiss Miss shelf. I knew we were low on cocoa, and decided one more box would be a special treat for end of winter. I started to pick up the usual light blue box of milk chocolate, when my fingers found themselves hovering near a dark brown box with the familiar Swiss Miss logo but the scrumptious words "Dark Chocolate" listed next to them. (They've apparently changed the packaging just a bit since the above image was taken.)
Dark Chocolate cocoa! My heart did little cartwheels. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but I do love dark chocolate, the darker the better. As much as I enjoy almost all forms and flavors of chocolate (except white) when given a choice, I will always choose dark. And no, it has nothing to do with the all the recent chatter about dark chocolate having antioxidants that are actually good for you (though that's nice). I just love the taste.
And the taste of this hot chocolate did not disappoint. It's definitely darker, in both appearance and taste, than its milk chocolate variety. It's still smooth and sweet, but it's got just a hint of bittersweet about it, which makes it go down all the better for me.
And I can't complain about the price. I don't know if it's because of the end of the season, but I bought a 10 oz. box (with 8 individual serving packets) for 97 cents! Each foil lined package comes with cocoa powder for one cup of cocoa. Just add 6 ounces of water (preferably hot but not boiling) to the favorite mug of your choice, and stir.
Now I will say that this hot chocolate, while tasty and smooth, is not precisely what I'd call rich. It's a lower end priced product and it's made with hot water, so that's not surprising. To make it just a bit richer, I use slightly less water per mug and add a little bit of milk...my favorite brand being Plain Silk Soy Milk. Although I haven't tried it yet, I suspect Vanilla Silk would make it even richer and tastier. And I've been contemplating adding a tiny drop of peppermint extract -- if there's anything I enjoy more than dark chocolate, it's dark chocolate combined with mint.
While not the healthiest of treats, primarily due to the presence of hydrogenated coconut oil (which I'm guessing accounts for the 15% daily amount of saturated fat listed in its ingredients) this cocoa mix does not have any trans fats. It's also 99.9% caffeine free. Swiss Miss also claims it has as much calcium as a glass of milk. I guess I up the amount a bit my inclusion of extra milk when I make it. The top two ingredients, unfortunately, are sugar and corn syrup (which probably accounts for the 150 calories per serving, though only 30 come from fat) and of course cocoa and non-fat dry milk are also included.
For a sweet bit of indulgence that's inexpensive and quick and easy to make, I recommend Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensation, especially to anyone who enjoys the rich and slightly more bittersweet taste of dark chocolate.
Now excuse me, I'd better go finish up that cocoa....it's spring!
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