CAPSULE REPORT: Most people who need sugar-free hot chocolate or cocoa head for the supermarket shelves and the single-serve packets of Nestle, Carnation or Swiss Miss. The King’s Cupboard, a producer of some of the finest chocolate sauces (including a superb sugar-free chocolate sauce), applies its talents—and its supply of fine chocolate—to turning out a cup of no-sugar-added hot chocolate. You make it with real milk. The taste is real chocolate instead of chocolate-flavored water.
We’ve lived on packets of sugar-free cocoa for years—out of desperation. When on a diet and unable to bear the thought of drinking one more cup of coffee or tea...one more diet soda...one more sparkling water...thoughts turn to a warm, comforting cup of cocoa.
Alas, the reality of the diet hot cocoa mixes is that their 45 or 50 calories may sound like a good deal, but they don’t buy too much. The mixes are made of a low-caliber cocoa and nonfat milk and generally sweetened with sucralose (the base of the sweetener Splenda®). When mixed with water, the flavor is very thin: The net effect is chocolate-flavored water. The package may suggest adding milk instead of water for a richer flavor, but then your 45-calorie bargain becomes 120 calories (with 6 ounces of nonfat milk).
One just might be better off with the delicious, chocolate-flavored tea sampler from Serendipitea—zero calories worth of tasty chocolate flavors—and, for 120 calories, enjoy a truly delicious, no-sugar-added hot chocolate from The King’s Cupboard, a specialty food producer that uses really fine chocolate and cocoa in its mix.
King’s Cupboard Flavors
The King’s Cupboard, made with a cocoa base, includes chunks of real chocolate in the mix. This entitles it to be called hot chocolate instead of cocoa—see the difference below). There is a Dark Hot Chocolate flavor and a Mocha Hot Chocolate variation.
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In addition to using top-quality cocoa and chocolate, the products are sweetened with a combination of maltitol, the most expensive and natural-tasting of the sugar substitutes, and sucralose. Using a combination of the sweeteners provides a true chameleon “sugar taste”: No one drinking a cup would realize it was not sweetened with sugar, except that maltitol tastes less sweet, as if only one teaspoon of sugar were added instead of two. One serving of the powder, 2-1/2 tablespoons, has 45 calories, 14 from fat (plus, add the milk calories). There are 13 servings per container.
The Difference Between Cocoa & Hot Chocolate
There is a difference between cocoa and hot chocolate. Cocoa is made from cocoa powder, hot chocolate is made from shaved chocolate bars. Both can be mixed with either hot milk or hot water, but since cocoa powder is defatted, hot chocolate is a richer beverage. It can easily have double the cocoa butter of cocoa powder.
You can make it on the stovetop, but in just 60 seconds, heat the milk of your choice in the microwave; then add the cocoa powder and stir. We recommend using a small whisk or an aerolatte to get the best dissolve and a nice froth.
Then, be prepared to enjoy a sip of delicious quality chocolate. The powder itself is delicious—you could enjoy eating a spoonful of it. Along those lines, you can sprinkle it atop cappuccino, on ice cream or wherever else the mood strikes you.
THE KING’s CUPBOARD®
No Sugar Added Chunk Hot Chocolates: Dark Hot Chocolate, Mocha Hot Chocolate