The secret behind the cocoa.

By Rebecca Firkser
December 05, 2017
Credit: Photo by Janine Lamontagne

It’s that time of year, when people of the Northern Hemisphere start sipping hot chocolate. If you’ve ever tried to make your own hot chocolate, you know that a good cup requires more than just cocoa powder and a spoonful of sugar. So, what else is going on in instant hot chocolate?

One of the most popular brands of instant hot chocolate is Swiss Miss. Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix contains sugar, corn syrup, modified whey, cocoa, hydrogenated coconut oil, nonfat milk, salt, sucralose (also known as the artificial sweetener Splenda), artificial flavor, calcium carbonate (which can act as an anti-caking agent), dipotassium phosphate (which acts as a buffering agent), carrageenan (a thickening and stabilizing agent), mono- and diglycerides (which help emulsify water and fat), and Acesulfame Potassium (also known as Ace K, an extremely sweet yet calorie-free artificial sugar-substitute). 

The multitudes of preservatives in Swiss Miss are likely to ensure that the product always stays the same, as it has an extremely high distribution.

Another popular type of instant hot chocolate is made by the chocolate brand Ghirardelli. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Premium Hot Cocoa contains sugar, cocoa, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin (an emulsifier), and vanilla. Ghirardelli's ingredients list contains few preservatives, likely do to the fact that it doesn’t contain ingredients like Swiss Miss’s nonfat milk, which could grow mold if it comes in contact with moisture. 

All things considered, making your own hot chocolate isn't hard. Here are some of our favorite cocoa recipes.

This article originally appeared in Extra Crispy