I’m usually more about hot chocolate events than the actual beverage. Hot chocolate events involve driving around to see Christmas lights, watching Just Friends on the couch and putting up the tree. BL, on the other hand, prefers to enjoy hot chocolate at least weekly, no matter the circumstance.
Therefore, I’ve become pretty good at whipping it up at a moment’s notice. This is my simple recipe enhanced with cayenne and cinnamon. I really love the combo of sweet and savory and Mexican hot chocolate completely does it for me. I assume you could omit it, but unless you’re serving it to toddlers, try it! It’s weird, delicious and heightens the chocolate flavor.
A few tips for perfect hot chocolate:
Milk Matters. No, really. After throwing out batches of less than steller hot cocoa (but really, less than steller almond milk), I know this all too well. Homemade is the best, but ideally, make it with one you actually enjoy sipping on. If you don’t like the taste of the milk by itself, you aren’t going to like it in this cocoa. For a creamy hot chocolate, I use a mix of almond milk and canned coconut milk.
Chocolate Matters. I avoid using cocoa powder as I feel like it always has a grainy aftertaste. For the richest hot cocoa, use chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate. Finely chop, then add to the warm milk and whisk until creamy and smooth.
Sugarrrrr. Yup, we need it here. Avoid the desire to add less; you need sweetness to balance the bittersweet chocolate and not adding enough will make for a bitter, off hot chocolate.
Extra whip, please. I can’t imagine not adding a dollop of hot cocoa to my hot cocoa and this coconut whipped cream is everything and more. I’ve got a tutorial here, if needed. I recommend an extra spoonful, along with freshly shaved chocolate.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
2/3cup finely chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coconut cream, for topping
Shaved chocolate, for topping
Heat the almond milk, coconut milk and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk, gently bringing the milk to a simmer, taking care not to burn it.
Add in the chopped chocolate and spices and whisk continuously until the chocolate has melted and the milk is very creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand for 3 minutes before drinking to sightly cool.
Divide into mugs and dollop with coconut cream and shaved chocolate.
*For a peppermint version, omit the cayenne, vanilla extract and cinnamon and swap in 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract instead. Make sure to use peppermint and not mint! Serve with whipped coconut cream and chopped candy canes.
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.