Tamara’s Recipes: Lead-Safe Hot Cocoa!

For the holidays, today I am going to share my first recipe with you (more will come!) – for hot cocoa!  We’ll call it “Lead-Safe Hot Cocoa” for fun, because the choices I have made specifically keep any potential lead contamination to a minimum [cocoa/chocolate being generally one of the more commonly lead-tainted food items!]

If you are new to my site and need an intro (for context) check out this post here.

I’ll start with a photo and shopping list (with details at the bottom!)

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Shopping List/ All Things I Use

In terms of lead-free or lead-safe…  the most important thing is the cocoa. If you have seen my film, you know that chocolate is one of the food items with the highest lead levels.

In the creation of chocolate products, lead has the potential to be added at every step in the manufacturing process.

It is for this reason I look for the following qualities is cocoa products (to help ensure the lowest lead content):

  • responsibly-sourced (ideally single-source cocoa beans)
  • locally (U.S) made (smaller companies have more pride of ownership and accountability)
  • locally (and minimally) processed
  • single-ingredient cocoa products (cocoa nibs or cocoa powder.)

If you:

1. are the one to add the dairy products (or non-dairy substitutes) , the sugar (or alternative sweetener), the vanilla, the salt, and other ingredients that a cocoa manufacturer might otherwise add, then you have control over these items’ sources – and there is less “machine-ing” of the final product. Industrial processing equipment plays a large role in contamination of foods: lead often contaminates processed ingredients due to the wear and tear of leaded-brass machine components (used for their inherent “self-lubricating” quality  – a quality needed for machines with lots of moving parts) during manufacturing, so if you limit the products that have been machine-processed (or machine-combined with other ingredients), and

2. use lead-free cookware,

you automatically reduce the potential amount of lead in your finished product.

Cocoa products processed here in the USA are also less likely to have lead contamination from the manufacturing process as machines here are in most cases newer and therefore less likely to have leaded components when compared to older (and even many newer) equivalent machines in Central or South America – or China or Africa for that matter. [There are other low-lead or lead-free choices in my ingredient list, but the post would be too long if I were to go in to it all in full detail. lol!]

How I make my cocoa…well… I don’t bother measuring things too much, actually (I’m a “seat-of-the-pants” baker) so bring an improvisatory attitude – and make adjustments to taste!

  • Fill pitcher about 2/3 or 3/4 full with milk (or soymilk, nut or grain milk of your choice) & start warming on LOW flame.
  • Warm about 1/4 cup of honey (more or less to taste) and add to milk and stir slowly.
  • Add in a about 3/8 of a cup of cocoa (first a full 1/4 cup and mix in and then half of that again if you want it darker)
  • Shake in a little salt (maybe a 1/4 teaspoon or less – to taste)
  • Add a few shakes of ground organic cinnamon
  • Add a splash of vanilla (towards the end of cooking so it doesn’t fully evaporate)… I tend to make my splashes generous – so maybe a teaspoon?  Maybe two?
  • Stir periodically—and then once it starts getting hot, stir constantly with your spatula (or a stainless whisk if you prefer)
  • Remove from heat BEFORE it starts to boil or burn (very important – lol) and wait a few minutes before pouring in to your lead-free glass coffee mugs!
  • Add a couple of vegan marshmallows and serve! 😉
  • NOTE: My tile kitchen’s tiled counters have tested positive for lead [and we lack the funds to remodel!] so I always set all my ingredients out on a cutting board and then use a lead-free plate next to the stove to set my spatula and measuring cups on while cooking.

I always serve the cocoa at the beginning of a meal (while I am cooking other things)—so the kids are not “starving”/crazy while I am cooking… I know that’s “backwards”, but we do a lot of things backwards around here!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Please also let me know if you want to see more of this type of post!

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tamara Rubin
Mother of Lead Poisoned Kids
Note: No one has been editing my posts recently, so please excuse the typos! lol!

Affiliate link disclosure: If you choose to purchase any items after clicking the Amazon links above, Amazon pays me a small kick back as a thank you for sending business their way. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support this website, allowing me to keep sharing information about childhood lead poisoning prevention (as well as making it possible for me to keep sharing about safe products for your home and family) ... Sharing this information in turn helps families everywhere protect their children from potential environmental toxicity in their homes. I only link to products that are the same as (or very similar to) ones that I either have direct personal experience with in my home or that I have personally tested with an XRF Instrument and found to be lead-safe or lead-free. December 2016

6 Responses to Tamara’s Recipes: Lead-Safe Hot Cocoa!

  1. Celestial December 26, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    Would love to see a post with all the things that would have made this one too long!!! 🙂

  2. Mandy January 3, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

    Do you have info on silicone straws being lead or free from other stuff that is bad for littles? I have 4 littles 5 and under so glass straws seem a little dangerous from the breaking prospective and stainless steel has me worried about cut lips or broken teeth.

  3. Sarah February 6, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    Have you tested the Holy Kakow brand?
    I read a report from ConsumerLabs.com that tested several brands of cocoa powers and found they were all contaminated with lead and other heavy metals. 🙁
    I’ve been using the Navitas brand cocoa powders for a long time and it has lead and mercury in it!
    Just wondering if you know for sure that the Holy Kakow brand is safe.

  4. Katherine April 30, 2017 at 5:32 pm #

    I’m searching my brain here but I thought you had posted a local chocolate source not on amazon and I was wanting to try that but now the link is to something else…maybe it was a different blog post. In the grand scheme of things, its of little importance but my chocolate addiction is strong and I was hoping to try adding so cocoa powder back (chocolate free for 3 months now) for myself instead of eating so much sugar…which is where I am now.

  5. Rachel May 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    It’s unclear to me how you decided to list Holy Kakow as safe. Please elaborate?

    • Tamara May 5, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

      It’s in the post… will find the sentence. It’s a #SaferChoice, because it is locally processed and single sourced and processed in the USA.

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