Not only can you make a truly homemade version of hot cocoa, but you can take it to a whole new level of special (and healthy) by using Cacao. Because Cacao is the pure, unprocessed, raw form of cocoa, it retains substantially more nutrients - especially in the form of antioxidants. You can use Cacao Powder, melted cacao paste or even add in a little melted Cacao Butter to make an unforgettable warm chocolate treat. Understandably, Cacao does not function exactly the same way a store-bought hot chocolate mix might, so here are a few tips on making your own epic superfood hot chocolate:
1. Use a Blender
Cacao Powder has had its fat removed, indeed making it healthier, but also less soluble in water. For best results, blend all the ingredients first before heating them to ensure that they are fully emulsified and are not clumped.
2. Add Smart Sweeteners
Real Cacao is not sweetened, so adding something to balance the bitter flavor is important. No need to reach for conventional sugar though, Coconut Palm Sugar is an ideal addition that has half the glycemic index of cane sugar, additional trace minerals and a caramel-like flavor that pairs incredibly well with chocolate. Use it just as you would regular sugar or, for a reduced calorie version, use half as much Coconut Palm Sugar and extend the sweetness using a no-calorie natural sweetener like Stevia.
3. Take Advantage of Nut Milks
Nuts and chocolate are a long-celebrated pairing, and the light nutty undertone of nut milk does a wonderful job of subtly enhancing the flavor of hot chocolate. Hazelnut milk, almond milk and cashew milk are wonderful places to start. You can buy these pre-made at the store or make them yourself in a blender using a 1:4 ratio of nuts to water.
4. Add a Little Spice
Here's where the "secret" part of your secret recipe comes in: a pinch of flavor that takes your hot chocolate to the absolute edge of awesome. Make a Mayan-themed blend using spices like cayenne and cinnamon, pour in some vanilla extract for a European-style drink or create a unique superfood concoction by adding a small spoonful of Maca Powder or Acai Powder.
5. Warm Gently
There's no need to boil a hot chocolate blend for an extended period of time and doing so will actually damage some of the nutrition. Instead, heat on a stove top over medium-low heat and bring to a slight simmer - just until the liquid begins to froth. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Here's our favorite house recipe, which can be made with mesquite powder or Maca Powder.