I’ve been experimenting with finding alternatives to both traditional drinking chocolate and instant hot chocolate drinks. Both of these- though lovely- come in plasticised containers. According to one book I read (albeit an old edition of the Tightwad Gazette written in the 1990s), making your own should be cheaper. However in 2015, I haven’t found this to be the case! Although- if I was clever enough to work out the cost of the protein content (as the book suggests) I might find it was worthwhile. I have been able to find dried milk powder and cocoa in cardboard boxes in some stores. Although, I suspect these to have plasticised paper bag liners- there are no other options here in the UK currently, at least not in my area or for miles around! Sugar comes in paper bags a lot of the time- so just make sure you choose these over plastic! For traditional hot chocolate, I have simply been following the directions on the packet of cocoa: 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder 2 teaspoons of sugar Mix these to a paste with a little cold milk and then top up with warmed milk. Or as I have been doing- top up with cold milk and microwave for 1 min, stir, then microwave for another minute and stir again. This saves massively on washing up! This tastes pretty well identical to the stuff in the container and is minus the artificial flavouring. The instant version is proving trickier; 1/3 cup dried milk powder 1 tsp cocoa 2 tsp sugar Mix to a paste with a little cold milk and top up with hot water. It tastes OK, but a little strong for my liking and the dried milk always goes lumpy. If anyone has any suggestions for how to improve it, please comment- otherwise I’m tempted to go back to my plastic container because it tastes so much better and according to my calculations is much cheaper also- though full of plastic and other chemicals- like anti-caking agents and flavourings. Although it is more minimalist to have less separate containers in the cupboard!
Recipe update- instant hot chocolate
This is the version that seems to taste best, for 1 mugful.
1 flat tsp cocoa
4 heaped tsp dried milk powder
2 flat tsp sugar
Mix to a paste with a little cold milk and then top up with hot water, stirring all the time.
One unintended side effect we’ve noticed since making this change is that we are no longer craving whipped cream and marshmallows on our hot chocolate. We used to have this from time-to-time as a treat. I must conclude that the cocoa content is higher in our homemade version and is somehow more satisfying? We’ve both definitely adjusted to the richer, more chocolately taste now and would’t go back. So this has been a real saving exercise for us- consuming fewer products, saving money and the environment, whilst also eating less processed, chemically enhanced foods. Winner!