Monday, January 26, 2015

Decadent Hot Cocoa with Coconut Milk

It's still cold outside.

I am one of those extra-annoying people who love winter.  I love all the seasons, in their own time, but my love for winter seems to especially annoy my friends.  I can't help it.  Snow is like a magical covering that makes everything beautiful and sparkly.  Plus, what better excuse is there to stay in by a fire and eat all the delicious warming foods and drink amazing hot hot cocoa!

Now, it is true that you can get some pretty decent dried hot cocoa mixes these days, or make your own, and I'm not going to knock any of that.  But for a mug of cocoa that is a true indulgence, a real treat, and might actually have some health benefits, you should give my method a go.

Because I make this for 3 growing children and myself, I'm going to say that this, as written and pictured, will serve 4-6 people.  It's very thick and rich, so you don't need a huge cup of it to be satisfied, but I tend to over pour as a religion.  You can easily reduce everything by half and make it for 2-3 people.

So, first get some coconut milk.  For my brood, we use two cans of it.  Unsweetened, because it's sweet enough on it's own.  And none of that reduced fat coconut milk...the fat in coconut milk is the good kind!  Glossy hair, strong nails, active brain synapses.  You need some fat!

Anyhow, warm the coconut milk in a small pot over medium low heat.  You don't need it to boil, but just slightly simmer.

While that's heating, grate up some chocolate, the darker the better for you.  Antioxidants, you know.  Delicious, delicious antioxidants.  I would go with at least 70% cocoa, but I myself use full-out 100% cocoa.  You get to make your own choices.  You could also go with some good cocoa powder.  Dutch cocoa is great here.  Or, if you want, just use chocolate chips.  It's really up to you.  But for me, 2 ounces of 100% cocoa, grated, is perfect.

Mix the chocolate into the heated coconut milk to melt it.

To sweeten up the cocoa a bit, add in some honey.  For my 100% cocoa or powdered cocoa, I usually use a tablespoon of good honey.  If you use a sweeter chocolate, adjust the honey down, and don't forget that the coconut milk is sweet on it's own.

Warm the whole mixture through until it is frothy and consistent and you can't wait any longer to dive in.  Pour it carefully into mugs, and enjoy responsibly.  You can top it with a marshmallow or some whipped cream, but I'm telling you, this stuff is so good that it needs no gussying up.  Drink it straight, and be transported to a winter wonderland respite full of warm snuggly blankets and crackling fireplaces.

If the good fats and antioxidants weren't big enough nutritional buzzwords to convince you, I'll also add that this is all natural, gluten-free, and vegetarian...vegan, if you go with a sweeter chocolate and skip the honey.  All that, plus it tastes way too indulgent to have any right to be good for you.  

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