The Good: Affordable, Environmental impact of canister, Good flavor for the peanut butter, Nothing truly bad in it!
The Bad: Barely any chocolate in the flavor!
The Basics: Stephen’s Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Hot Chocolate is arguably the defining peanut butter flavored hot cocoa . . . even if it is more like peanut butter soup than anything chocolatey!
There is a weird new trend, it appears, in premium hot chocolates. That trend is to get flavor for the flavored cocoa through physical additives - chocolate chips, candy cane pieces, etc. In the case of Stephen's Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa, the additive is actual tiny peanut butter cups. The problem with so many of these additives in cocoas is that they end up simply coalescing at the bottom of one's mug and leaving a physical residue that sticks to the bottom of the mug. That is certainly what happens with the bulk of the peanut butter cups in the Stephen's Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa.
That said, the little peanut butter blobs stuck at the bottom of one's mug after one is done drinking the Stephen's Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa are very much worth fishing out!
Stephen’s Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Hot Chocolate is flavorful and a very true embodiment of peanut butter in beverage form . . . even if it is not the most chocolatey drink!
The Peanut Butter Cup hot cocoa mix is part of the Stephen’s Gourmet premium hot cocoa line. The mix comes in a one-pound canister and is an aromatic powder that needs to be mixed with boiling water to create a beverage. For each mug of cocoa, this not oppressively expensive, but it is pricier than most major brands of hot chocolate.
Ease Of Preparation
The Peanut Butter Cup hot cocoa mix is fairly easy to make. The cocoa may or may not have a decent shelf life - the canister I bought three weeks ago had an expiration date of April 27, 2017, but because I found it at my local discount store it is entirely possible it ended up there because it was a little closer to its expiration date than some business wanted! Because it is resealable and has some preservatives in is, this is likely to last virtually forever unopened. A single serving is three and a half rounded Tablespoons and ¾ cup of hot water. One needs to measure out the cocoa to reconstitute it properly.
As a result, preparation is not difficult, but requires some measuring that packets do not. The canister must be opened, the powder measured out into a mug that is at least eight ounces large. Then, simply pour hot (near-boiling) water over the powder and stir. Stir the powder until there are no blobs of cocoa powder visible in the water or giving resistance from the bottom. The beverage will have a dark brown color to it and will be fluid except for any of the peanut butter cups that are in it. Those will settle down, the chocolate coating on them will melt and one will end up with blobs of peanut butter at the bottom of one's mug.
Stephen’s Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup hot cocoa smells delightfully and recognizably like peanut butter. The aroma is very similar to that of chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips; the presence of the peanut butter in the scent overwhelms most of the scent of chocolate that wafts off this cocoa.
On the flavor front, Stephen’s Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Cocoa lives up on the peanut butter flavor as well. In fact, if there were ever to be a beverage made of hot peanut butter, this might well be what it would taste like! Chocolate lovers are less likely to be thrilled by the Peanut Butter Cup Cocoa because the chocolate flavor is not assertive enough to even remotely hold its own with the nutty, creamy flavor of the peanut butter flavoring. That said, the authenticity of the peanut butter flavor is the key selling point of this cocoa, so it is hard not to call it a success for tasting so flavorfully of peanut butter!
The Peanut Butter Cup Hot Chocolate has a sweet, but dry, aftertaste which dissipates only a few seconds after the last of the cocoa is consumed!
Stephen’s Gourmet is a hot cocoa mix and therefore not the most nutritious things ever, though the Peanut Butter Cup flavor could be far less nutritious than it is. While I am used to reviewing things like all natural teas where the ingredients are all easily pronounceable and recognizable, the Peanut Butter Cup hot cocoa has very few ingredients that cannot be easily identified. The primary ingredients are sugar, sweet whey, and peanut butter cups (made primarily of sugar). It is not vegan compliant as a result of the whey and dry milk in the mix. It is, however, gluten-free.
In each serving of Peanut Butter Cup Hot Chocolate, there are 170 calories, thirty-five of which are from fat. There are three grams of saturated fat, so while one might be tempted to curl up and enjoy this while resting, that is not recommended! There is no cholesterol, but a hefty 10% of one's recommended daily allowance of sodium out of a single serving of this beverage! There is a little protein, 2 grams, but not enough to live off this. The only other notable nutrients in the Stephen's Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa is 8% of the RDA of Calcium and 4% of the RDA of Iron. In other words, this product is not a nutritious food product, though it does taste good.
So long as one leaves the Peanut Butter Cup powder in its canister, it ought to stay usable. One assumes it will last quite a while and dissolve appropriately when one attempts to use it. The canister, for those of us who consider the environmental impact of such things, are much more environmentally friendly and affordable than packets would be.
Cleanup is very easy. If the product spills while dispensing the powder into the mug, simply wipe it up or brush it up with a dry or damp cloth. If it has already been reconstituted with water into hot cocoa, simply wipe it up. Light fabrics are likely to stain if this gets on them, in which case consult your fabric care guide to clean it up. Mugs may need to be soaked for those who want to get the peanut butter remnants out without using a spoon (ouch for the ears!) or their finger (highly recommended, except when in polite company!).
Looking for a great peanut butter flavored hot beverage? Stephen’s Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup hot cocoa is it! Looking for an incredible blend of peanut butter and chocolate? The Stephen's Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa is not quite there!
For other hot cocoa reviews, please check out:
Stephen's Gourmet Peppermint Candycane Hot Cocoa
Land O’ Lakes S'mores Hot Cocoa
Pernigotti Hot Chocolate
For other beverage reviews, please visit my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.