Does anyone make a good dark or high cocoa/low sugar hot chocolate?

I used to like hot chocolate when I was a kid, but nowadays I find it too sweet and weak tasting. When I eat bar chocolate, I like Lindt dark chocolate. (The regular Lindt, not the super-dark bars with the percentages listed.) Does anyone make a hot-chocolate equivalent of a good dark chocolate?

I’ve looked in the store to no avail. Dark hot chocolates all seem to have as much, if not more sugar than the regular. If I look for low-sugar hot chocolate all I find is stuff with fake sweeteners. I’m actually not necessarily looking for dark chocolate in the sense of not having any dairy or dairy-subsitute content. I’m just looking for something with more cocoa and less sugar than the standard Swiss Miss.

Have you tried making it from scratch? It’s not hard, and doing it this way gives you complete control over the sweetness.

Just buy powdered cocoa and add sugar to taste. Warm up some milk and have at it.

Can you get either Green & Black’s or Charbonnet et Walker ? Both of those make drinking chocolate that is actually chocolate rather than a bunch of sweetners and milk proteins.

If you can find Valrhona cocoa … it tastes so amazing you don’t really need sugar! I use this and add sugar for people who are used to sweeter hot chocolate mixes.

Otherwise … use the Lindt chocolate you like, melted in warm milk!

I have done much practical research on this topic. I agree with just melting chocolate in milk. My current fave: Nuke 10-12 ounces of milk (your choice, skim to full fat) with a meager handful (maybe one-quarter cup or a little more) of Ghiradelli 60% cacao dark chocolate chips. Stir vigorously. Very chocolatey, and not very sweet.

If you want to tart it up, you can add some vanilla or almond extract.

I even had a big mug for dinner once when exhausted, with a shot of vodka and some peppermint extract.

Long ago I gave up on finding a pre-made chocolate drink mix that I like. Just make it yourself. It is extremely easy.

Buy cocoa powder (baker’s chocolate). This is pure cocoa. I’ve tried name brands, but for raw cocoa, store brands are close enough in quality to my taste.

Buy the sweetener of you choice. I use sucralose and buy it in bulk. I’ve tried cane sugar and honey, also. I would not recommend honey.

Decide if you want milk solids or not. Sometimes I mix in powdered milk, sometimes not. Try both the regular and fat-free. I’ve also used fresh cream, but that requires keeping fresh cream around.

Take a mug of hot water, and add the cocoa, sweetener and milk. Mix it until it’s well dissolved. Drink and enjoy!

The hard part is finding the proportions you like. For a 12-oz mug, I typically add about 3 spoonfuls of cocoa and 2 spoonfuls of sweetener. You’ll have to experiment for yourself.

I like my hot chocolate with a little foam.

I use a cheap hand blender right before serving. gives a really nice froth on the drink. tastes so good on the lips. :wink:

I make mine with Hershey’s unsweetened coca power, sugar, a little milk. Like the OP, I prefer it with very little sugar. Making it myself lets me sweeten to my own taste.

I make my own, too, and in similar proportions to Pleonast. 3 tablespoons of cocoa (Droste, Ghirardelli, or Hershey, in descending cost) to about 2 tablespoons of sugar, plus a pinch of salt. Then I pour a tiny bit of hot water in and whisk (why yes, I do own a tiny whisk just for this purpose) till smooth, stir in 10-12 oz cold milk, and nuke for 1-2 minutes.

I love some decadently rich hot chocolate, with real chocolate melted into milk, but for more daily use, or if I don’t want something too heavy or caloric, I really like my hot cocoa.

I love a cup of cocoa, but I wouldn’t call it a hot chocolate. And I’ll have mine a lot weaker than the 2 teaspoons per cup mixtures some of you like.

The Hershey’s cocoa, at least, has the recipe right on it including a recipe for by-the-mug hot chocolate. As others have said you can adjust the sugar to what you like.

After Starbucks took it off the menu (mid-2000s?), I searched for a long time to find an equivalent recipe to their Chantico chocolate drink. I found it, then made it with darker chocolate. The end result is something between the bitterness (but still not as burnt-tasting as coffee) of their Ebony Hot Chocolate that they dropped in the 1990s(?) and the rich thickness of their Chantico drink.

I drink it maybe twice a year, because the next day I’ll tend to get a caffeine withdrawal that leaves me useless for half a day (probably because I normally avoid caffeinated drinks during the rest of the year) and it’s definitely not good for the waistline.

Shall I post the recipe?

Lead me not into temptation.
I can find it myself. :smiley:

Chocolate milk:


1-1/2 quarts whole milk
1/2 cup Dutched cocoa powder
1 cup sucralose based sweetener

Pour a quart of milk into a blender
Add the Dutched cocoa powder and the sucralose based sweetener
Blend at very low speed for several minutes
Pour in the remaining milk
Blend at very low speed for several more minutes

For a frothy drink, make in 1/2 sized batches and blend on high

I make mine from good quality cocoa powder, 4 to 8% milk, and cornstarch, sugar to taste. Keep stirring until it thickens. Then add a dash of vanilla.

I don’t think I have bought cocoa-drink mix in my life (I even make my own dry mix for camping, with Milkman dried milk).

Yes, please. I enjoy having different things to do with cocoa drinks. I make one with coffee and almond extract, and another one with cinnamon and a dash of chipotle powder. Oh, and another one with pumpkin pie spice that pretty much ends up like a chocolate chai. I’d love to hear what you make, since I’m unfamiliar yet intrigued by those drinking chocolates, but have never indulged.

I found a little kit in Marshall’s with blocks of dark chocolate on sticks (six of them). You’re supposed to dip it in a mug of hot milk and stir. It’s pretty good, but not as good as some professionally-made hot chocolates I’ve had.

I’ve also tried heating some milk in a pan, then chucking in a handful or so of semisweet chocolate chips (plus a dash or two of vanilla extract) and whisking until frothy.

Disclaimer: I have no idea what kind of sweetener content this has.

Chantico (“Mayan” Hot Chocolate)
Starbucks marketed their Chantico drink as “Mayan” Hot Chocolate, that they claimed was based on the legend that Moctezuma+ drank an especially thick form of hot chocolate/hot cocoa as an aphrodisiac, consumed dozens of cups per day, lived to be ancient, and had a huge roster of concubines and wives that he kept satisfied. Critics noted that a chocolate drink with Central American roots would (invariably?) tend to have cinnamon or cayenne or something spicy-hot in it. I didn’t care about the legends or the critics or the history; I just knew I liked it. Apparently I was in the minority; I think this product lasted only about two years before Starbucks pulled it off the menu.

I found several ‘knock-off’ recipes on-line, culled the commonalities between them, and came up with the following:

Measuring cups and spoons, of course
I found a kitchen scale to be helpful, but many of you are going to end up adding chips to-taste
Stove (naturally)
Mini-pot (mine is a little stainless steel camper’s model, about 4" wide and 4" deep because I only make it for 1 or 2 people at a time and spreading chocolate too thin will risk burning it)
Mini-whisk (mine is only about 6" long and .5" to .75" wide at its widest part. I found a normal whisk can’t get into the corners of the mini-pot)

whole milk
heavy whipping cream
vanilla extract (optional)
Chocolate chips

The recipes I found on-line called for Nestlés semi-sweet chips. I used Nestlés Dark chips (which may not have been around when the recipes were originally posted) and, because I’m a glutton, doubled the chips for my palate.# I’ve heard Ghirardelli and Guittard also make excellent products for this indulgence, but I’ve never tried them.

I’ve tried Hershey’s chocolate, and I’ve tried their chips and cocoa powder and even Hershey’s Kisses in recipes. In general I find Hershey’s uses so much wax filler that I can’t taste the cacao product, so I don’t often buy that brand.

To make 1 or 2 servings:
.5 cup milk
1 oz cream
1/8th tsp vanilla
3 oz chips (I double this for me but, as noted earlier, I pay a price later)

To make 4 to 6 servings:
2.5 cups milk
.5 cups cream
.5 tsp vanilla
12 oz chips


  1. In a saucepan over low heat*, melt the chocolate chips, stirring with a mini-whisk as soon as they start to soften.
  2. When the chips are melted, pour in the milk and whisk constantly until smooth.
  3. Add whipping cream* and vanilla***.

*There’s no need to bring it to a boil. Only to steaming hot.
At Starbucks, it was served at around 170-180 degrees.

**I found that whisking the end-product to a froth tended to thin-out the drink as the liquid was forced to encompass air bubbles. However, for that same batch, my wife thought whipping the drink to a froth made it seem thicker to her as the liquid took on more body with the air bubbles in it. I don’t think we’re both right, but I don’t really know who’s wrong. I just know I don’t make mine froth.

***I actually found that the vanilla added too much of an alcohol taste for me (overshadowing the chocolate), so I leave it out. Then again, perhaps that was just crappy cheap vanilla.

#I may be weird or somehow clueless. I tend to like chocolate that’s very dark (70 to 80 % cacao) and bitter, but I can’t stand coffee in any form because to me coffee just tastes like burnt wood soaked in water. I’ve mentioned this to friends as my explanation that coffee tastes too bitter to me and they’ve frowned and uttered skeptical “Okay” or similar comments.

+I thought he was Aztec, not Mayan. That or there’s a college in San Diego that’s got their team names and mascot wrong…