As kids, you don’t tend to drink much tea or coffee (unless you are my cousin who used to drink milky tea from the age she could use a beaker). In cafes, you always go for the juice, the soft drink, the milkshake or, if you’d been really good, a hot chocolate. Hot chocolate was something i never became addicted to. I craved the smell now and again, and the whipped cream and marshmallows on top, but once they were gone and the drink began to cool, I soon lost interest. There are a number of factors to think about when ordering a hot chocolate, or things can turn out terribly wrong. Is it made with milk or water? Is it made with powder or real chocolate (i.e. is there going to be a soggy clump of chocolate powder at the bottom of my cup)? DOES IT COME WITH CREAM? Even as a child i preferred to make my own. I loved making them at home with my mum and my sisters, my tiny heart skipping a beat if my mother answered “yes” to “did you buy baby marshmallows?”.
This recipe is a highly nutritious variation of a traditional winter favourite. There are (apologies in advance) no marshmallows, no ‘squirty cream’ and no processed sugar or pre-blended chocolate powder. You may think you know hot chocolate, but this, my friends, is another story. If this drink could only be one thing, it is loving. It will love your body and it will make you, in turn, love everything. Cacao releases happy hormones, increasing positivity and boosting your mood. Maca, as well as adding a butterscotch/malteaser flavour to the drink, is also a mood booster which helps to balance hormones and increase energy levels. Tahini is high in protein which helps repair any damage inside the body. And ghee or coconut oil are anti-inflammatory fats high in antioxidants, helping to boost the immune system. The coconut milk makes this drink rich and creamy, and will provide you with far more nutrients and considerably less hormones, chemicals and antibiotics which you risk consuming from shop bought cow’s milk products. Add natural sweetener like agave, date syrup or coconut blossom nectar to counter the bitterness of the cacao, and your choice of herbs and spices to infuse the milk. It may seem strange to use herbs you might be familiar with using in savoury cooking, but herbs and spices have a host of health qualities, and adding them to a bedtime beverage can do wonders to your sleeping patterns. Sage has been proven to naturally promote sounder sleep due to its sedative properties, and reishi (a herbal mushroom available in powdered form), has been referred to as ‘natures anti-stress antidote’. So, if it’s been a long day and you need to unwind, sleep it off and wake up well, you know what to do…
(makes 1-2 servings)
2 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder (can also use 20g solid raw chocolate)
1 Tablespoon Smooth Tahini or Cashew/Almond/Macadamia Butter
1 Tablespoon Maca
1/4 Cup Water
1 Cup Coconut Milk or Homemade Almond Milk
1 Teaspoon Agave, Coconut Palm Sugar or 1 Tablespoon of Creamed Coconut
1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil or Organic Clarified Ghee
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4-5 Fresh Basil Leaves or Rosemary Sprigs, optional
1/2 Teaspoon Reishi Powder, optional
Chili Flakes, optional
1 Cinnamon Stick, optional
Pour the milk and water into a medium saucepan. Stir on a medium heat until it begins to simmer gently, then whisk in the cacao powder, tahini or nut butter, maca, agave, coconut oil, salt and your choice of herbs and spices. If you are using creamed coconut, place the sealed bar in a bowl of boiling water for 5-8 minutes, to melt it before adding it to the pan. If you are using fresh herbs, chill flakes or cinnamon sticks, simmer for 15 minutes and sieve the mixture before serving, to separate them. When the cacao and tahini (or nut butter) have dissolved, remove from the heat and serve. Top with homemade coconut cream.
1 Tin Coconut Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Agave or Date Syrup (may not need it as the drink is probably sweet enough)
Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth - this will only take a few seconds. Transfer into a jar or container and set in the fridge for 1-2 hours until ready to serve.
+ It is best for make this in advance and store it in the fridge. However, you can spoon the mixture straight into the drink too, as it will all melt together in the end.