Winter has finally hit in the UK. Last week was absolutely freezing. Okay so perhaps not cold compared to Alaska or the Antarctic (or most of North America at present for that matter) but temperatures close to freezing are incredibly chilly, and came as quite the shock, compared to the balmy December we enjoyed (and moaned about at the time, daffodils blooming by the roadside in December? What has the world come to!).
What’s all this weather talk about? Well cold weather means only one thing in my mind…..hot chocolate baby!
I spent most of last week with the heating on max but still cold, wearing a scarf, quilt over my lap and fingerless gloves encasing my hands in order to sit and type. Yes really. It was VERY cold!
There are only so many cups of green tea one girl can drink in a day (and I definitely push it to the limit) in order to keep warm. And so enters hot chocolate.
Sometimes you need a sweet hit and you don’t have any cake or biscuits to hand – damn that January resolution of no cake for a month….(definitely not stuck to that one). Hello hot chocolate.
And sometimes you want a sweet treat without totally blowing your blood sugar; craving a hint of sweetness without endangering your health kick. Is this you? Well say hello to this little miss healthy hot chocolate.
She will satisfy your sweet tooth, warm you up and sate your appetite. All without blowing off your new years resolution to be more healthy.
The recipe below is for an au natural version. Simple, clean, pure hot chocolate. However, you could take things to the next level and pimp your delicious hot drink. Though I think if you go for the ‘enhanced’ version using some of the following suggestions (brandy, chocolate and marshmallows I’m looking at you…), we should perhaps tack the qualifier ‘ish‘ onto the title healthy – healthy-ish hot chocolate. But why not. It’s the last week of January, you deserve it.
So if you want to ‘enhance’ your drink, you could try:
- Melting a handful – this isn’t an exact science, so much the better if you have big hands 🙂 – of 70% cocoa chocolate chips into the saucepan.
- Top your drink with some coconut whip (I use this method to make whipped cream from coconut milk) and marshmallows and some chocolate shavings….oh boy that sounds good!
- Toss a chai tea bag into the saucepan and allow to infuse with the milk for a hit of aromatics. Maybe throw in a cinnamon stick for extra measure.
- Add some finely grated orange zest (that’s healthy… vitamin C anyone?) for a drink reminiscent of the ubiquitous orange shaped and flavoured chocolate.
- Add a few drops of mint extract for an after dinner digestive aid (see healthy…maybe a stretch?)
- If you like things chilli hot, then a sprinkling of cayenne pepper would spice things up nicely.
- For an adult version, you could add some brandy or whiskey to taste (and blow dry January out of the water).
- For a ‘Snickers’ inspired drink, sub the almond butter for peanut butter, adjusting the quantity to taste.
That said, simple is satisfying to me. I enjoyed the natural beauty of the hot chocolate recipe as set out below greatly and didn’t need any additions (though perhaps that’s because I hadn’t thought of them yet and didn’t have any marshmallows in the house….)
Here’s the recipe, hope it warms you up. Let me know if and how you enhance it, healthy or otherwise!
A Healthy Hot Chocolate
Gluten and dairy free, Vegan
- 1 cup of gluten free oat milk (or other plant based milk of choice)
- 2 rounded tsps of cacao powder
- 2 scant tbsp brown rice syrup
- 1 tsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp coconut milk yoghurt
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat.
- Whisk well to dissolve the almond butter and yoghurt.
- Allow to simmer until just boiling (about 5 minutes) whisking every so often.
- Pour into a mug and enjoy.