One cannot underestimate the physical and emotional benefits of a homemade cup of hot cocoa. I spotted the Chatfield’s brand of all natural unsweetened cocoa powder at my local Fairway the other day, so I threw it into my shopping cart. Although there are so many great brands of natural cocoa powders to choose from without milk derivatives, I bought the Chatfield’s brand since the container is clearly marked “vegan” and I am a sucker for any product which has a clear “vegan” marking on it.
Since it is rich in flavonoids, unsweetened cocoa powder offers many healthful benefits such as slowing down the aging process and lowering blood pressure. It has also been reported that, due to its strong antioxidant properties, unsweetened cocoa powder could even help prevent cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Today, since I had some vegan marshmallows sitting in my pantry, I decided to try and slow down my aging process by making a nice cup of homemade hot chocolate. Although I experimented with various ingredients including vanilla, ground nutmeg and cinnamon, my ultimate favorite hot cocoa recipe was the most basic one. How could it be bad smothered in vegan marshmallows?
Preparing a cup of homemade hot chocolate is so easy. Just steam one cup of non-dairy milk (I like plain or vanilla soy milk) in a small saucepan. Be sure not to boil it. When it starts to steam, add one tablespoon of cocoa powder with your choice of a vegan sweetener (I used 2 teaspoons of vegan cane sugar, but agave nectar or a small amount of stevia works well too). At this point, the trick is to whisk the ingredients together to avoid clumping. If you totally want to avoid clumping, sift the cocoa powder before whisking the ingredients together.
Pour the cocoa into a mug and top with vegan marshmallows if you wish. I love Sweet and Sara marshmallows, but the Dandies brand is really good too. You could also top your hot chocolate with Soyatoo whipped cream.
If you really want to indulge yourself, I suggest that you try Angela Liddon’s decadent recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa which is posted on her wonderful website “Oh She Glows.” However, as I always say, there’s no shame in just keepin’ it simple! Here’s the basic hot chocolate recipe…
VEGAN HOT CHOCOLATE
1 tablespoon all natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup plain or vanilla soy milk
2-3 teaspoons vegan cane sugar (or any sweetener of your choice, including agave nectar or stevia)
Vegan marshmallows and/or Soyatoo whipped cream topping
Slowly heat one cup of soymilk in a small sauce pan until steaming (but not boiling). Add one tablespoon of cocoa powder (you could sift it first to prevent lumps) and 2-3 teaspoons of vegan cane sugar (or your sweetener of choice). Use a whisk to blend the ingredients to prevent clumping. When the ingredients are well blended, pour into a mug and top with vegan marshmallows and/or Soyatoo whipped cream, if you wish. Enjoy!