One of the reasons I love the holiday season is being able to get cozy with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. It just gets me in the holiday spirit while satisfying my sweet tooth.
I wanted to share a simple recipe for peppermint hot chocolate that is both vegan and a lot healthier than other hot chocolates you might find (think coffee shops and instant mixes). I love the peppermint and chocolate flavor combination – After Eights, anyone? – so this peppermint hot chocolate is my usual choice for a warm drink in the winter months (when I’m not drinking tea, that is).
This recipe is super simple – you only need 4 ingredients, and if you’re not that into it, the peppermint is entirely optional. And it’s healthy! Because we’re using cacao powder instead of refined cocoa powder, it’s full of nutrients, and is also free of the refined sugar and added chemicals that you might find in a lot of prepackaged cocoa mixes.
Cacao, in addition to being considered a superfood, is so packed with flavor that you only need to use a small amount to get your chocolate fix, which makes it all the better! It’s still more of an indulgence than green tea, of course, but it’s pretty darn guilt-free for something so tasty.
If you don’t have access to raw cacao, use unsweetened cocoa powder to avoid unnecessary added sugars. I like to add a little maple syrup to sweeten things up, but you could use a little coconut sugar if you prefer. No matter what kind of sweetener you use, just a teaspoon should be enough to add in a hint of sweetness.
Healthy, Vegan Peppermint Hot Chocolate
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 Tbsp cacao powder, or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp maple syrup (or to taste)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Pour your almond milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Add in cacao powder and stir until completely dissolved. Stir in maple syrup and peppermint extract, and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
Top with cacao nibs and (vegan) marshmallows if you’re in the mood for something extra indulgent.
I hope this recipe keeps you warm!