This morning I was having a wonderful trip down memory lane – a fond remembering of the first time I ever made a cup of vegan hot chocolate. Oh my goodness, it was like heaven in a mug!
I was somewhere in the jungle with a good vegan friend, some 16 years ago. He had heard how to make the stuff and excitedly told me about the idea. So I gave it a whirl.
Back then we were using homemade organic vanilla soya milk (although I tend not to use it now because I can’t quite be sure of whether it is genetically modified or not). These days we have lots of options as plant-based milks have taken off big time!
This is a delicious treat any time of the year, but it is especially nice for snuggling up with on a chilly evening.
You can use any plant-based milk for this. Be aware that every milk has a slightly different outcome or taste. I do prefer to use a creamy plant-milk, like my homemade cashew or hazelnut. Although I will use whatever I have available at the time. Rice milk, is more watery but is still fine to use.
If you have a super healthy plant-milk without additives then it does tend to separate if you boil it too hard. To be safe, you just need to bring it to the point where the bubbles only just start forming on the top (right before it starts to boil). This is usually enough. some kinds of milk will get away with a harder boil without separating.
Experiment and explore (but if you want to err on the side of caution please do follow my guidelines).
If you don’t have maple syrup as a sweetener then you can also use other healthy syrup sweeteners (or even coconut sugar) as alternatives. I must admit though, maple syrup really does give it a delicious edge and is my preferred sweetener in hot chocolate drinks.
One of the important things in this recipe is to make sure that you mix the cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a paste with the maple syrup and vanilla extract before you pour in the hot milk. If you need a little more moisture to turn it to a syrup-like paste, then add the tiniest dash of water or plant milk to mix.
You will also need a pure 100% cocoa powder (with no added ingredients like sugar, as you might occasionally find with some brands). You can use cocoa powder (which has been pre-roasted before grinding to powder) or cacao powder (which is the raw version) – notice the difference in spelling 😉 . Just be sure to buy organic and fair trade versions, to support ethical practices in our world.
Here’s a video I made with a very similar hot chocolate drink (the super plain version from my book). I made this video a good few years ago…
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 400ml plant-based milk (or one mug full)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to preferred taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or to preferred taste)
- Measure the plant-milk in a mug, leaving a couple of centimetres (or just under one inch of space at the top of the mug).
- Next, pour the milk into a saucepan and turn on the heat. It works best with a creamy plant milk, like cashew or hazelnut. Some people like oat, almond or coconut milk too (although they each have different tastes).
- Mix the cacao powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in the mug with the maple syrup and vanilla extract to form a thin syrup-like paste. Add a tiny dash of water if the paste is too thick to mix.
- Allow the milk to continue to heat until bubbles start to gently form around the outer edges of the pan. Some plant milks separate quite easily, so be sure not to overheat or boil it too hard. Keep an eye on it.
- Pour the hot plant-milk into the mug and mix together with the cacao paste thoroughly.
- Enjoy right away.