Last year I made Eggnog when we put our Christmas tree up, but this year our son asked if I could come up with a hot chocolate recipe instead. Since we live in steamy south Florida, the last thing we really need is a hot drink of any sorts, but we still like to pretend we live somewhere wintry on “tree light night” just for fun.
Now that we have a fireplace in our new house we are so ridiculous that we even turn that on too. But a fire, gingerbread cookies, Andrea Bocelli’s Christmas music, and this hot chocolate recipe did the trick and launched us right into full swing holiday mode—right here in Palm Beach!
A Clean Hot Chocolate Recipe
While conventional recipes for homemade hot chocolate are not exactly in alignment with clean eating, this one most definitely is. In addition to being dairy-free, it has no refined sugar. Sweetness primarily comes from pureed dates along with a touch of pure maple syrup.
I initially made the recipe using pure almond extract but have since made it with fresh mint leaves too, and both are equally delicious. If you want something a bit more grown up, you could omit both the almond extract and mint leaves and add a splash of amaretto (Disaronno is my favorite). If you go with the adult version you’ll want to add the amaretto once your hot chocolate has already been heated, just before serving. Speaking of grown-up beverages, be sure to check out my clean holiday cocktails too!
Also, my hot chocolate is rather rich, so although it does serve two, it is not meant to be served in 8-ounce mugs (I served them in little espresso cups.)
And finally, I couldn’t resist showing you our fully decorated tree too!
Ok, on with the hot chocolate recipe….Print
- 1/2 cup coconut “cream” (see notes below)
- 3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract OR 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder (such as Navitas Naturals)
- 3 pitted medjool dates
- 3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup warm water, divided
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Pinch of unrefined sea salt
- Add the coconut cream, almond extract (or chopped fresh mint), cacao powder, dates, 3/4 cup water, maple syrup and pinch of unrefined sea salt to a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and process on high for 1 full minute, or until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and stir in 1/4 cup water if you want it a bit thinner. Heat the chocolate mixture, stirring consistently, over low heat until warm, about 2 minutes. Serve at once.
Coconut “Cream” is the thick, rich and non-watery part of canned coconut milk. To get the “cream” you need to refrigerate your coconut milk for 5 or 6 hours or pop it in the freezer for at least an hour. Once the coconut milk is cold, carefully remove the top with a can opener and use a spoon to scoop out the hardened coconut “cream” off the top. The “cream” is what you will be using for the Hot Chocolate Recipe. You can reserve the liquid water for smoothies.