When the air begins to bear a bitter chill, there is but one pleasure I always look forward to: cozying up to a warm, smooth cup of hot chocolate. The chilliness that accompanies Fall and Winter can be disheartening, but I can always count on a good cup of cocoa to warm me up. There’s nothing quite as comforting as hot, liquified chocolate. It brings back memories of playing in the snow as a kid, then, after becoming sufficiently frozen, running inside to find a crackling fire and a mug of hot cocoa. Those were the days.
Nowadays, I worry a bit more about the calories in that hot chocolate. Sure, it’s delicious, but is it worth it? I’m very much against drinking calories, my reasoning being that why waste your calories on a drink when you can use them on indulgent foods and drink all the water you want? I do a pretty good job of sticking to this; I don’t find soda or juice the least bit tempting. But hot chocolate? Now, that’s a different story.
Luckily, there is hope for those of us who are hot for hot chocolate: 25-calorie hot cocoa mix. It’s made by Swiss Miss and it’s pretty darn delicious, especially considering it’s a meager 25 calories. Such a small number has little impact on one’s day, so you can sip away without any remorse!
Because I drink so much of that stuff in the colder months, I need a way to switch it up every now and then. Hence this Cinnamon Swirl Hot Chocolate. I love a little sprinkle of cinnamon with my hot cocoa. The flavors wonderfully compliment each other.
This version is even better with a touch of vanilla sweetness from powdered coffee creamer and a deepened chocolate flavor from the addition of rich cocoa powder. The best part about this warm, indulgent drink? It clocks in at 84 calories!
So, if you’re looking for something sweet & cozy to warm you up without filling you up (with guilt), then whip up this frothy, creamy, comforting beverage!
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- If you’ve never tried almond milk, now’s the time! Why you ask? Well…
- It is delicious. It tastes just like regular milk with the slightest little nutty flavor (which I personally love). It makes all your cereals better (especially ones like Honey Bunches of Oats where its nutty flavor compliments the flavor of the cereal) and it’s AWESOME in hot chocolate.
- It’s much creamier than just using water in hot cocoa and adds that yummy nutty flavor you can’t get from regular milk.
- A cup of almond milk is only 40 CALORIES. One cup of fat-free or skim milk has 86 calories, which is more than double, and 1% has 110 calories which is almost 3 times as much! That’s a huge difference. Almond milk is your friend, my little cookies.
- Do NOT substitute regular milk for the almond milk. As I stated above, you could be almost TRIPLING your calories. If you refuse to give the almond milk a shot, then use water. It’s calorie-free!
- This takes all of 3 minutes to make, so it’s perfect when you need something nice and sweet super fast!
- You can use the sweetened almond milk instead for just a couple calories more.
- Wondering how else you can jazz up plain hot chocolate? I like to mix in a teaspoon of espresso powder. It deepens the chocolate flavor and gives the hot cocoa an added kick.
- You could certainly make an indulgent, full-calorie version. Just replace the diet hot cocoa mix with regular! You could also use regular milk in that case, but I still suggest the almond milk for its flavor.
Cinnamon Swirl Hot Chocolate
Recipe by The Smart Cookie Cook
Makes 1 serving
- 1 packet Swiss Miss 25-Calorie Diet Hot Cocoa Mix
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk or water
- 1 ½ tsp. French vanilla sugar-free powdered coffee creamer (like Coffee Mate)
- 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. mini marshmallows
- Pour the hot cocoa mix into a microwave-safe mug. Add the almond milk & mix to combine. Microwave on high for 1 – 1 ½ minutes or until hot.
- Add the coffee creamer, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Use a mini whisk or spoon to stir thoroughly until everything is dissolved and thoroughly combine. Sprinkle with mini marshmallows & enjoy!
Warm, chocolate happiness!