After a day of sledding or snow fort building, there was nothing better than warming up to a mug of cocoa. For me, every time I sip on hot cocoa, I’m flooded with childhood memories of playing out in the snow and cold with my brother – and we’d come inside to hot cocoa with marshmallows. My grandmother used to make some of the best homemade hot cocoa and I’m pretty sure it was because she used whole milk and for all I know, she could have used Hershey’s syrup, but it was darn good. For the last couple of years, I’ve been making my own homemade version and my sweet Willow LOVES it. Josh has been on me to share my recipe here on the blog, but it seems so simple and silly to me…but with winter upon us now I guess there’s no better time!
The key to this recipe comes in two parts:
- The addition of full fat coconut milk to make it extra creamy
- The coconut sugar-maple syrup combo gives it a rich, somewhat caramel-y, sweet flavor.
RICH, CREAMY (VEGAN) HOT COCOA:
Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Oil-free, Vegan
What you need:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your choice of milk)
- 1 cup coconut milk (preferably full fat)
- 2-3 heaping Tablespoons raw cacao powder (use 3 for a richer flavor)
- 1.5-2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- pinch Himalayan salt
- Optional Add ins: 1/2-1 tsp peppermint extract/flavor OR 1 tsp pure vanilla extract OR a square of dark chocolate OR 1/4-1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon.
- In a small pot, gently warm your milk over medium-low heat, whisking often. You DO NOT want the milk to come to a boil – steaming is OK, just not boiling (approx 10-12 minutes). Don’t worry if it isn’t “hot” enough because you’re going to whirl it in the Vitamix and it will warm up some more. If you’re using the additional square of chocolate, add it to the milk to melt.
- Once the milk is warmed up, carefully pour it into a high speed blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and frothy, approximately 1-2 minutes. Adjust the sweetness level as needed. If it’s not warm enough for you, simply return the mixture to your pot and heat on the stove. I keep it on the cooler side for Willow’s sake.
- Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream or marshmallows! Enjoy!
*** For an added superfood boost, after blending the ingredients together, add in 1 teaspoon mesquite powder + 1 teaspoon maca, then whirl again for a few seconds. This combo isn’t recommended if you’re using peppermint.
*** If you don’t have a Vitamix or high-speed blender, that’s ok! Simply warm the milk over the stove with all of the ingredients (except the peppermint or vanilla), whisking often. Once heated to desired temp, remove from heat and whisk in the peppermint or vanilla (if using). I love using the Vitamix to get the super frothy top.
I’ve shared how I make my whipped cream before, but I’ve since then learned a trick for a guaranteed perfect batch! I have tried literally every brand of organic full fat coconut milk and hands down the best one is Whole Foods brand and it’s always 2 for $4. I know it has guar gum (I try to avoid too many “gums”), but I’ve tried a couple brands without it and you will never get a thick, fluffy whipped cream AND the flavor was really bad, in my opinion. You can also use Trader Joe’s canned coconut cream, but it is very strong in coconut flavor (my mom wasn’t a fan when I used it). Ok, so the trick?!? Before you buy the can, give it a little shake and if you hear a lot of sloshing around, don’t buy it! Sounds silly, but since learning this trick, I’ve made successful whipped cream every single time!
Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream:
What you need:
- 1 can organic full fat coconut milk (use two cans for a bigger batch)
- Your choice of sweetener (maple syrup, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, etc.)
- Chill the coconut milk can in the fridge for 24 hours, at least.
- Chill your mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes prior to making the whipped cream.
- Gently turn the coconut milk can upside down, open it, discard the liquid and scoop the thick cream into your chilled mixing bowl.
- Mix until fluffy and smooth – adding sweetener, as desired (I usually do a drizzle of pure maple syrup). Store any leftovers in the fridge and use within a couple of days.
Thanks for stopping by!