Kid-friendly Spiced Chocolate Mugs Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Spiced Chocolate Mugs

Recipe: Spiced Chocolate Mugs

Spiced Chocolate Mugs

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Vladimir Gladkov
prep time
2 minutes
cook time
4 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

Equipment Checklist

  • Saucepan
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon


Spiced Chocolate Mugs

  • 1/2 C bittersweet chocolate chips **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob chips and for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY sub Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**
  • 3 T sugar/agave/honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, or use 1 pinch each of cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom
  • 3 C whole milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper or ground black pepper (optional but fun!)

Food Allergen Substitutions

Spiced Chocolate Mugs

  • Chocolate: Substitute carob chips for chocolate chips.
  • Nut/Soy: Substitute Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Dairy: Substitute Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk for whole milk.


Spiced Chocolate Mugs

measure + add + simmer + enjoy!

Measure and add to a saucepan 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3 cups of milk, 1 pinch of salt, and optional 1 pinch of cayenne pepper. Heat to a simmer and cook until chocolate melts. Taste! Add more milk or sugar to adjust sweetness. Let cool slightly, then pour into mugs and enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Chocolate + Cocoa!

back to recipe
Photo by New Africa/

Hi! I'm Chocolate!

"Hello! Let me introduce myself! I can be dark brown, light brown, or even white. I'm sometimes bitter, sometimes a little sweet, and often very sweet. I add flavor and excitement to many other foods! Have you guessed yet? I'm Chocolate! You may be familiar with me from candy bars or chocolate sundaes, but I can liven up many other foods, too, including chili, butter, and milk!"


  • The cacao (kahKOW) tree is native to equatorial South America and the rainforests of Mesoamerica. It was first used 5,300 years ago by indigenous people in South America. Mesoamericans who lived in the rainforests of Mexico and Central America domesticated the tree about 1,500 years later. They drank chocolate as a bitter beverage—far from the sweet treat most of us are familiar with today. 
  • The Mayan people of Central and South America used cocoa as currency and as medicine: it was very valuable, just like vanilla! In fact, it was so precious that they made counterfeit cocoa beans out of clay and avocado seeds!
  • The Aztec people are a nomadic tribe in Northern Mexico. When the Aztec empire began to expand, they demanded that the Mayan people pay tribute to them through gifts of cacao. 
  • The Aztec people ruled until Spaniards arrived and conquered the land and its people. The Spanish explorers took cacao beans back to Europe, where they experimented by adding cinnamon and sugar to sweeten it. For a long time, only aristocratic people enjoyed chocolate.
  • Princess Maria Theresa married Louis the 16th from France and gave him chocolate as a wedding present! Demand for chocolate soon grew very fast, and as a result, people were enslaved on plantations to grow cacao to meet the high demand.
  • In 1847, Joseph Fry invented the first chocolate bar. By 1907, Hershey was manufacturing millions of chocolate kisses each day.  
  • Cacao trees grow best in the rainforest underneath the branches of taller trees. However, they won't bear fruit until they are at least three to five years old. 
  • Most early Spanish sources refer to chocolate as "cacahuatl" (cah-cah-Hwat), which translates to "cacao water."
  • The word chocolate comes from a combination of a Mayan word for hot, "chocol," and an Aztec word for water, "atl."

How Chocolate is Made

  • All chocolate comes from the beans of the cacao tree. Cacao trees produce pods containing pulp-covered seeds. Before cacao is processed, it would be hard for most of us to recognize it as chocolate! This is because the pulp-covered seeds taste bitter and raw and look nothing like the chocolate products we see in stores.
  • The seeds go through a process called fermentation, and then they are dried and made into nibs before being turned into chocolate. 
  • A cacao pod contains about 30 to 50 almond-sized seeds—enough to make about seven milk chocolate candy bars! 
  • After roasting and grinding cocoa beans, chocolate liquor is left, which is about equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. After the cocoa butter is mostly extracted, the result is dry cocoa solids. Cocoa powder is the powdered form. Natural cocoa is a light brown color and tastes bitter. 

  • Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten created the "Dutch process" method in the early 19th century to reduce the acidity in natural cocoa powder by treating the beans with alkaline salts. As a result, Dutch process cocoa is less bitter and has a dark brown color.

How to Enjoy Cocoa & Chocolate

  • You can add unsweetened cocoa to milk with sugar, honey, or stevia for a delicious and warming beverage. You can also add it to smoothies for a delicious chocolaty taste and an extra hit of magnesium and polyphenols. 
  • Chocolate comes in many forms: bars, kisses, chips, powder, shavings, puddings, syrups, and sauces.
  • Unconventional chocolate flavor pairings: cardamom, lavender, wasabi, chili, chipotle, sea salt, lime, matcha, curry, ginger, mint, figs, fennel, sesame, parmesan, and Earl Grey tea. Seriously, what doesn't go well with chocolate?! Can you think of any other fun and delicious pairings?


  • Dark chocolate helps protect your heart, blood, and brain! To get the full health benefits of chocolate, choose at least 85% cocoa content or higher. The higher percentage makes the chocolate more bitter, but those bitter compounds, called polyphenols, are antioxidants that provide several health benefits. Many people prefer very dark chocolate!
  • Polyphenols help prevent heart disease by maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, keeping vessels flexible and allowing the blood in our body to flow easier (good circulation), and reducing inflammation. In addition, they help control blood sugar levels, lower cancer risk, and boost immunity. Polyphenols also promote good digestion.  
  • Cocoa is a great source of magnesium. We need magnesium for good health! For strong bones, healthy teeth, and as a building block for proteins within the body.
  • Cocoa can protect our teeth?! Cacao contains antibacterial elements that fight tooth decay. However, this is true with unsweetened cocoa only, as most mass-produced chocolate has a lot of sugar. We know what sugar does to our teeth—it causes decay! 
  • One study has shown that the smell of chocolate may actually relax you by increasing theta waves in the brain!

Let's Learn About Mesoamerica!

Photo by WitR/
  • Avocado, tomato, and chocolate. Your kids are likely familiar with at least some of these food items. But do they know that they originally came from Mexico and are based on words from the Nahua people? Nahuatl words "ahuacatl," "tomatl," and "chocolatl" were eventually adapted and adopted into English.
  • The Nahua people were an ethnic group found in Mexico with deep cultural roots, and members of one Nahua group were the Aztecs.
  • The Olmec were the first major Mesoamerican people and culture. They settled on a river city that archaeologists refer to as San Lorenzo. Historians consider the Olmecs to be one of the greatest civilizations in history. They advanced as artists, architects, engineers, traders, and sculptors without the benefits of migration or influence from other civilizations. Today, much of their culture has been lost, and some of the few artifacts that remain are stone carvings, wooden artifacts, and ruined cities.
  • Civilizations that came after the Olmecs were influenced by them and borrowed ideas from them, including the Aztecs, Veracruz, Maya, and Toltec. 
  • Mesoamerican cultures had a 260-day calendar for rituals and a 365-day calendar for agriculture.
  • People across Mesoamerica played a ritual sport called "ballgame" (in English). Courts were situated in the sacred precinct of a city. Players passed solid rubber balls to each other (no hands allowed!), and the object was to hit them between markers.
  • The people relied heavily on corn, beans, and squash for food. They referred to them as the Three Sisters.
  • Mesoamericans spoke more than 125 different languages.
  • Mesoamericans used pictographic, ideographic, or picture writing. For example, for "I love apple," they would draw an eye, a heart, and an apple.

The Yolk's On You

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a cow that doesn’t give milk?

A milk dud!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a sheep covered in chocolate? 

A Candy Baa!

Lettuce Joke Around

What did mama cow say to baby calf?

It’s pasture bedtime.

THYME for a Laugh

What does an invisible man drink?

Evaporated milk!

Lettuce Joke Around

I named my dog Cinnamon!

He's a lot of bark!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call people who like to drink hot chocolate all year long? 


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