Hot Cocoa: The Perfect Winter “Recovery” Drink
After a brisk, cold weather ride or run, I come in from the cold, steaming from the exertion. Although I felt warm enough while moving outside, I quickly cool down and want a little something to warm me up before showering. Sometimes I have a mug of herbal tea and yet, what really seems to hit the spot is a frothy cup of cocoa.
I knew that the milk was good for me, but I was delighted to hear about the research of Dr. Chang Y. Lee at Cornell University. His studies showed that cocoa had twice as many flavonoids (flavonoids are powerful antioxidants) as red wine, and three to nine times as much as green tea! Flavonoids have been shown in various studies to lower blood pressure and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Another study was good for the mice—it increased their life span by 31 percent.
So, enjoy a nice steaming mug of hot cocoa after your next winter work-out. It’s good for you! This recipe is adapted from Hershey’s Classic Hot Cocoa recipe which has been around about 80 years.
Hot Cocoa for One:
- 1 tablespoon cocoa (unsweetened)
- 1 tablespoon very hot tap water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup of milk
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
This is easily made in your microwave. Mix the cocoa, sugar and hot water together with a small whisk in a microwavable mug—or even a Pyrex measuring cup. Whisk in the milk and mix thoroughly. Heat the cocoa in the microwave for up to two minutes, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds. Do not let boil. Whisk in the vanilla, pour into a mug and serve.
Of course this can be made on the stovetop, or if you have one, in a Bialetti Hot Chocolate maker. Soy milk can be substituted for the milk, and you can substitute Splenda for the sugar or even use 1 tablespoon of honey instead of sugar.
Approximate Calorie Count: If made with 1% Milk & sugar–200 calories; if made with 1% Milk & honey–170 calories; if made with 1% Milk & Splenda–120 calories.
*Yes, there is a difference between “hot cocoa” and “hot chocolate.” Hot chocolate is a more decadent treat, made from melted chocolate instead of cocoa and perfect for dessert!