Looking for good alternative to Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate
February 10, 2014 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I received a tin of Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate for Christmas, and have enjoyed it down to the last tablespoonful. But when I went to TJ's this weekend to pick up more, I found out it was a seasonal item and won't be back until next November. Wahh!! Hope me!!

I love my Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate. I use it to make hot chocolate (duh) and I also use it to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake (which turn out AMAZING). The thought of not having another perfect hot chocolate or amazing CPBMC until next winter makes me want to cry.

Amazon has it for sale...but for $16.00 a tin. Pfffft.

I am looking for a good alternative, that I hope will meet these criteria:

- roughly 30 calories a tbsp
- rich, dark, decadent chocolate. None of this Swiss Miss stuff. Not too sweet.
- I'm not sure how to describe this, but it should be cocoa powder-like, not little sugar granual-like. I think the powdery-ness makes it work really well in the mug cakes.
- not ridiculously expensive. I consider $16/tin to be ridiculously expensive.

I would also consider recipes to create something like this on my own, but I worry about experimenting because TJ's set a very high bar with this one.


PS - this is the mug cake recipe.
posted by Elly Vortex to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: TJ's Sipping Chocolate was The Sweethome's hot cocoa mix winner; their runner-up was E. Guittard's Grand Cacao, which is also expensive on Amazon but may be available cheaper at a local store. Something to try at least. If you can't find the Guittard, you might want to take a look at the other runners-up and see if anything strikes your fancy.

(TBH I'm actually sort of surprised that The Sweethome's review panel didn't figure out which brand was the same as Trader Joe's, since their stuff is largely rebranded.)
posted by bcwinters at 11:22 AM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think Bellagio Sipping Chocolate used to be the same thing; I have cans of both in my cupboard & can't tell them apart. (However, Amazon reviews indicate the ingredients may have changed recently. I'd avoid the ones that say beverage mix on the tin.) I can find it at some of my local grocery stores for about $5/tin.
posted by belladonna at 11:24 AM on February 10, 2014

chocosphere.com has a wide range of fine chocolate products, including my two favorite cocoas, pernigotti and valrhona.
posted by bruce at 11:49 AM on February 10, 2014

Best answer: I'm going to share my sought-after secret recipe for hot chocolate with you. It is surprisingly easy.

Combine fair trade organic cocoa powder with fair trade organic powdered sugar. (I use a variety of sweeteners but powdered sugar sounds like it best suits your needs.) To taste. Add spices (optional). This is your amazing, high-quality hot cocoa base mix.

Add hot water and maybe some cream. Add vanilla, mint, or orange extract (optional). Enjoy.
posted by aniola at 11:52 AM on February 10, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I can't stand the stuff and have an unopened tin at home. I'd send it you, maybe for the price of your Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake so I can finish off my opened tin? MeMail me if you want it!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:05 PM on February 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh, wait. You posted the recipe. MeMail me anyway!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:06 PM on February 10, 2014

Dagoba Drinking Chocolate - I got it at Mom's Organic Market for less than the 11.95 it's listed at, and I think I've seen it at Whole Foods. I get unsweetened and add a little sweetener, but it's available sweetened (and I never recall thinking their sweetened products were too sweet for me).
posted by mrs. taters at 12:34 PM on February 10, 2014

Best answer: Elly: I have an extra unopened tin! It was meant for a gift, but I forgot to give it to the giftee and now too much time has passed for me not to look like a big weirdo. MeMail me your address and I'll mail it to you.
posted by Zosia Blue at 12:51 PM on February 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Theo Chocolate is a small producer making bean-to-bar chocolate in Seattle. They don't add any filler or weird stuff to their products, so they're insanely pure and delicious. Many chocolate producers, for example, use soy lecithin as a filler, but they tend to make a waxier chocolate and, well, it isn't chocolate. Theo is simple and pure and tasty. And they have great factory tours if you're ever in Seattle, too!
posted by disillusioned at 1:47 PM on February 10, 2014

P.S. To avoid small floating bubbles of cocoa powder when making homemade hot chocolate: add a little hot water in with the mix at the bottom of your cup. This gives you a paste or syrup. You can then add the rest of your hot water or milk.
posted by aniola at 4:06 PM on February 10, 2014

Aniola's recipe needs a tiny pinch of salt.
posted by redfoxtail at 7:07 PM on February 10, 2014

Kakawa Chocolate House has drinks that look similar to the Trader Joe's version. They have European flavors (the French Lavender is pretty amazing), as well as contemporary and more spicy meso-american inspired ones.
posted by korej at 8:28 PM on February 10, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all for your suggestions, offers of unwanted tins, and recipes! I think I'll be able to survive the rest of the year now. :-)
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:11 AM on February 11, 2014

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