This is currently my favourite thick and creamy vegan drink. It’s made differently to any of the hot chocolate recipes I’ve ever shared before and – dare I say, is the best drinking chocolate I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
Last year I had a Spanish hot chocolate “chocolate caliente” on La Palma. No kidding, it was like some deep spiritual experience of ecstatic bliss. Super thick, amazingly creamy. The Spanish hot chocolate planted an unforgettable seed in my mind, because months later I just happened to be playing in my kitchen and accidentally (haha ‘accidentally’ – like all the best recipes) created the best hot chocolate that I’d ever made.
I stopped buying plant-based milk a while back, preferring to make my own instead. I tend to use my instant cashew and hemp seed plant-based milk method. Basically cashews and hemp seeds are soft enough to blend and create a milky drink without pre-soaking.
One-day last autumn, I had an overwhelming urge to enjoy a hot chocolate drink. Before I could think about it I was spooning cashews and hemp seeds into my blender, dropping in cacao powder, vanilla, and maple syrup. I then blended the whole thing up for about one minute.
Next, I popped the blended drink into a pan and gently heated on the stove, stirring a little as it heated over a couple of minutes. Then it started turning thick and super creamy. Of course! The cacao powder and blended nuts and seeds were acting as a thickening agent. Divine cacao alchemy! And then I had a sip – OMG – talk about a drink of heaven in a mug! I’ve been whipping it up ever since. You only need a few minutes and it’s ready.
A quick word about the benefits of cacao…
Cacao is said to be exceedingly good for you. It contains heaps of phenylethylamine (not even sure I can pronounce it lol! also called PEA for short), which is known for elevating our mood and giving us that feel-good factor. Cacao is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants which are said to have healthy heart benefits (e.g. lowering blood pressure and improving good cholesterol).
Cacao is one of the best food sources of magnesium. Magnesium is essential for brain health, the nervous system and strong bones & teeth. Cacao is good for iron. A big YES from me for cacao.
The difference between cacao and cocoa?
If you are wondering about the difference between cacao and cocoa powder, then please know that they can usually be used interchangeably. I’ve written an article about that here: https://www.kindearth.net/un-confusing-the-difference-between-cacao-and-cocoa/
- 50g cashew nuts
- 25g hulled hemp seeds
- 400ml water
- 1 heaped teaspoon cacao powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 cm cubed fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Put all the ingredients in a blender together. You can play with the ingredient ratios (I usually just guess and do it intuitively). You can also use all cashews if you don't have hemp seeds.
- Blend for about 60 seconds in a blender until everything is fully blended together. If you don't have a very powerful blender then blend for longer (or soak your cashews ahead of time).
- Taste and see if you want to tweak it at all.
- Pour into a pan and gentle heat. Stir regularly over two or three minutes. It should start to thicken as it reached boiling temperature. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for another minute.
- Enjoy right away!
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