This is what I call real hot cocoa! No artificial sweeteners or sugars.
Quite possibly, the best hot chocolate I have ever had. Bold statement, I know. But, it’s creamy, perfectly sweet, and super easy to make. I think the fact that it’s homemade enhances the flavor. My homemade hot cocoa is the perfect snow day treat, addition to christmas morning, or simply that warm drink any kid loves when they need a comforting pick-me-up.
Using real cocoa or cacao powder has tons of health benefits as well. The main difference between cocoa and cacao is that cacao is slightly bitter in taste, but more pure and raw in its processing. Cocoa in it’s purest form (not a Nestle or Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix) and cacao have equally strong health benefits. These include:
- Lowers blood pressure: The antioxidant, nitric oxide, found in cacao, can help relax blood vessels and as a result lower blood pressure and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
- High in antioxidants: Cacao can repair the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
- Boosts your mood: Cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being. The same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love, phenylethylamine, is found in chocolate.
- Provides minerals: Magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese.
My healthy hot cocoa is dairy-free, when using almond milk or another milk alternative. It is also vegan when using maple syrup, instead of honey. And free of artificial sweeteners, if you don’t top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows. – But let’s be real, that’s half the fun of making and drinking hot cocoa. A little whipped cream never hurt anyone 😉
It is snowy and slushy on the streets of NYC right now. A good cup of hot chocolate and a holiday movie on tv are calling my name. Stay safe and warm, little clementines!
- Prep Time: 2m
- Cook Time: 5m
- Total Time: 7m
- 2 c unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 2 tbsp. cocoa powder (not an artificial mix)
- 2 tbsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup*
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract or cinnamon (optional)
- Warm the almond milk in a small saucepan, then whisk in the cocoa powder, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to remove any lumps from the cocoa. Optional: If you like peppermint hot cocoa or spicy hot cocoa, add peppermint extract or cinnamon for a fun twist!
- Optional: place in your blender (make sure the cocoa isn't too hot - you don't want to get burned) and blend until frothy.
- * add more or less honey or maple syrup, depending on how sweet your family enjoys their hot chocolate. If adding more, be mindful of calories and sugar intake.