my favorite hot chocolate
If you know me, you know that I love chocolate. And almost everyone I know would agree with me.
The best part about it is -- when you choose raw cacao as your chocolate of choice, it is also a superfood!!
Raw cacao is:
- 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries
four times the antioxidant power than your average dark chocolate
- highest plant-based source of iron
- full of magnesium for a healthy heart & brain
- more calcium than cow’s milk (and the magnesium allows your body to utilize the calcium!)
- a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant
- the list goes on and on!!
The problem with most chocolate is that it is almost always accompanied by lots of sugar, frequently unhealthy fats, and sometimes even plastics & other crazy unnatural additives. But when eaten the right way, chocolate can (and should) be enjoyed every day!
My favorite way to have chocolate during the colder months of the year is hot chocolate. I drink it every day, if not multiple times a day! It is a cozy, warm, comfort food that you can feel good about indulging in any time. Because you are not cooking the chocolate, you want to choose raw cacao, rather than regular cocoa. You will get a much deeper chocolate flavor ,and the health benefits are exponential. Any organic raw cacao will work - I usually buy it on Amazon, as it seems to be less expensive than at the store. This is the only essential dry ingredient. Everything else is optional depending on your preferences.
I like to add maca root powder, another superfood, to my hot chocolate because it provides a yummy malt flavor along with some amazing health benefits: high in vitamin C, copper & iron, shown to increase libido, relieve menopausal symptoms, and improve mood for some people. (**If you have issues with your thyroid, you may want to check with your naturopath before using maca.) Lately, I’ve been buying Anthony’s Organic Maca Root Powder, Gelatinized, on Amazon. It seems to dissolve much better than other brands I have tried.
I also like to add Dandy Blend. Dandy Blend has a wonderful mocha flavor and many people use it as a coffee substitute. It is made of the water-soluble extracts of roasted dandelion, chicory, beets, barley and rye. (It tastes much better than that sounds!) It is naturally gluten free. It is loaded with trace minerals and potassium, iron and calcium. Dandelion is an excellent liver tonic and blood purifier. You can find Dandy Blend at New Seasons, Whole Foods or on Amazon.
For variety, I sometimes add cinnamon and/or cayenne pepper to taste. Both have additional health benefits, but I add them for flavor.
Canned coconut milk can vary a lot between brands. You may have to experiment a bit to find the brand you like the most. I’ve had to most consistent luck with Native Forest and Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream.
Do not be afraid of the fats in these recipes. Healthy fats are essential for your health and sense of wellbeing. They provide satiety and blood sugar balance. They are essential for your brain. If you drink cow’s milk, choose organic whole milk. Low-fat milk has a lot of naturally occurring sugars and will play with your blood sugar levels if you don’t mitigate it with some fat or protein. Organic unsweetened almond milk is a good substitute if you do not drink dairy, although it is naturally pretty low fat. You can add a spoonful of organic full-fat coconut milk to increase satiety.
Stevia is the only sweetener used in this recipe. For some people, stevia takes a little getting used to, but used in the right amounts for the right recipes, it can be a wonderful, natural, no-calorie sweetener. (One or two drops go a long way!) It comes in many forms by many brands. I personally prefer liquid stevia most of the time because I find it has the least aftertaste, but this is just a preference. My favorite brand is Trader Joe’s. There are many brands of powdered stevia out there that can also work great. The taste varies significantly so don’t give up on stevia simply because you don’t like one brand! Pay attention to the other ingredients in powdered stevia. It may surprise you what else is in there sometimes!
Because there is no sugar in this recipe, you will not experience a “rush” of energy when drinking this hot chocolate. It will keep your blood sugar stable. If you feel unsatisfied after drinking it, particularly the full-fat version, pay attention to your motivation for choosing chocolate — are you tired and really needing a nap? are you stressed and needing some deep breathing? are you trying to avoid a negative emotion and needing to simply be with/in that emotion for a while? It is okay for most people to drink this hot chocolate before bed. (However, some people are sensitive to chocolate before bed - pay attention to what your body is telling you.)
As with any dark drink (cola, smoothies, etc.), hot chocolate can eventually stain your teeth. So after you finish, drink a glass of water, chew xylitol gum, or brush your teeth to avoid any unwanted staining.
Here’s to thoroughly enjoying your chocolate!
Genét's Favorite Hot Chocolate
2 parts Raw Cacao
1 part Maca Root (optional - do not use if have thyroid issues)
1 part Dandy Blend (optional)
Cinnamon or cayenne to taste
Mix dry ingredients together in any amount you want. (I make a jar full at one time so it’s always on hand.
For creamy hot chocolate, option 1:
Heat one mug of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, unsweetened coconut milk (from a carton, not a can) or organic whole milk on the stove or in the microwave. Add one spoonful of dry mix and one dropperful of liquid stevia. You will need to whisk it a little vigorously to get the cocoa to dissolve into the milk. Add a spoonful of full-fat coconut milk (from a can) for extra creaminess.
For creamy hot chocolate, option 2:
Heat enough water for one mug. Add one scoop dry mix, one large spoonful of full-fat coconut milk (from a can, not the carton), and a dropperful of liquid stevia, along with the hot water to a mug. Stir until dissolved.
For lower calorie option:
Heat enough water for one mug. To the mug, add one scoop dry mix and a dropperful of liquid stevia, along with enough hot water to fill the mug 2/3 to the top. Stir until dissolved. Add unsweetened almond milk or organic whole milk to fill the mug to add just a touch of creaminess. (Not nearly as satisfying but if you aren’t hungry and only want a little warmth to satisfy your chocolate craving, this is a great way to go.)