People in San Marcos, Texas don’t react well to 42° rainy weather. This kind of weather is unbearable in comparison to the warm, humid conditions we have all become so accustom to. We Texans are miserable, extremely cold and refuse to go outdoors. We cope by wearing layers of clothing and drinking hot chocolate. The second it gets cold, I take advantage of the rare opportunity by treating myself to a nice, tall mug of delicious hot chocolate. The good news is that there is a way to enjoy this drink without also enjoying 500 calories.
No need to buy sugary, high-calorie hot chocolate mixes anymore. All you need is an alternative milk (I used almond milk), raw cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s Special Dark) and some kind of natural or alternative sweetener. I personally like to use honey, but if you are vegan, you can of course use maple syrup or agave. As a lower calorie option, I also love to have stevia on hand. By substituting almond milk for dairy, you’re already cutting some major calories. I avoid using a sugary hot cocoa mix by substituting a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder and a touch of sweetness. Healthy hot cocoa? Not even the Grinch could say no to that.
I started by pouring about two cups of almond milk into a small saucepan and bringing it to a simmer. I then added my sweetener and whisked until it was fully dissolved. I followed that with a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder and stirred until there were no lumps. Take the drink mixture off the heat when it is well combined and completely smooth. Of course you can serve immediately, but be careful, don’t burn your tongue!
This recipe really is as easy as it sounds. With such a simple and delicious base made of only three ingredients (almond milk, cocoa powder and a sweetener) this hot cocoa has the potential to be as simple or as fancy as you want it to be. If you want to take your hot cocoa to the next level, buy good quality dark-chocolate chunks and add it to your milk along with the cocoa powder. This will ensure an extremely rich and creamy hot chocolate. For a chocolate-peppermint version, add the same dark-chocolate chunks with the cocoa powder and a drop or two of peppermint extract. After trying this delicious recipe, you’ll never go back to the overly-sweet, high-calorie versions again.