It’s that time of year — the temps are dipping and sometimes a little piece of dark chocolate or cup of herbal tea after dinner doesn’t quite satisfy the craving for something chocolaty and warm!
While some people complain that the commercial packets of instant hot cocoa aren’t vegan, I love the excuse to make hot cocoa on the stove (just like stove-popped popcorn!). It really isn’t difficult at all and you get to control the ingredients!
Once I started using dark cocoa, I never went back to regular cocoa — the richness of the flavor is amazing and since I am a serious chocolate lover, I am ALL about it. Note that dark cocoa is different (no added sugar but more processed) than cacao. I personally don’t think cacao tastes like chocolate so I mainly use that in baked goods (I may do half cocoa, half cacao for a chocolaty dessert), chia pudding and smoothies. For hot chocolate, I use (gasp!) Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, which you can find at any major grocer.
I use organic cane sugar in my cocoa but feel free to use whatever sweetener you like… maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, stevia, etc.
I find that light vanilla soy milk is perfect for hot cocoa — I loathe almond milk in hot beverages and coconut milk just tastes like coconuts. Feel free to use whichever milk you prefer. If you’re not using a vanilla-flavored milk, add a drop of vanilla extract to the cocoa and stir well just before serving.
Get creative and jazz up your cocoa with some fun additions like a drop of peppermint extract, some marshmallows or even toss some chocolate chips into the pan to make it extra decadent!