We had a wonderful thunderstorm roll into town yesterday, which made me crave some hot cocoa. A long time ago, I found a recipe for hot chocolate in a high-end food/lifestyle magazine. I can’t recall which one now, either Bon Appetit or Martha Stewart Living or something along those lines. In any event, I veganized it and it’s now my go-to recipe when the hot chocolate urge strikes.
What you’ll need will look something like this:
Some kind of nondairy milk (almond, soy, rice, whatever); the sweetener of your choosing (the original recipe called for regular sugar, but I tend to use a bit of agave); some kind of solid chocolate and some cocoa powder; cinnamon sticks; and a yummy topping of your choosing (more on that in a moment). You could also add a splash of vanilla extract, if you’re so inclined.
The first thing you’re going to do is pour some of your milk into a saucepan and add a couple of cinnamon sticks to it.
Simmer this for 10 minutes, taking care not to bring it to a boil. You want to impart the cinnamon flavor but you don’t want to scald the milk.
While it simmers, you can get your mugs ready. We always put a special marshmallowy treat in the bottom of our mugs and then pour the cocoa over it. Generally, we use this Ricemellow Creme:
It’s sweetened with brown rice syrup and, as a result, has a gentler effect on my body. However, when we were at the market getting our supplies, we spied our very favorite vegan marshmallows, from Sweet & Sara.
They’re the best for roasting at campouts, so we thought we’d give them a try in our cocoa.
After your milk has simmered for a bit, take out the cinnamon sticks. If any scummy stuff has formed on the surface, now’s a good time to get rid of that, too.
Next step, toss in your solid chocolate chunks.
Whisk the chunks until they melt, and then put in a bit of cocoa powder. (Note – if you ever want to make this but don’t have any solid chocolate sitting around, you can skip it and just add more powder. I do it all the time.) Whisk that up, too, and get it all nice and warm. Try to get rid of as many lumps as you can, but to me, it’s not critical to get rid of them all. I kind of like the nice blast of chocolate that those lumps provide.
Final step: sweetening. This is going to be entirely to taste and based on a lot of factors, including how sweet (or not) you like things, how much sugar your chocolate chunks had in them, and how much sweet stuff you’ve already got waiting in your mug. For this batch, I just put a small drizzle of agave nectar to take the edge off, but that’s all we needed.
Pour it in your mug and get ready for a bit of heaven!