Just your average superfood, super-overpriced, new year new me, vegan drinking chocolate concoction. With benefits. Cause a little sugar makes the medicine go down, we all know that.
Story: as Zack and I were walking through frigid New York just before Christmas we kept joking about how we needed some vegan-healthy-superfood-hot chocolate-concoction to sip on while everyone else sipped on their liquid-chocolate-creamy-marshmallow-beverages (that are undoubtably pure bliss, don’t get me wrong). We came off a great momentum from our Bora Bora daily cardio, and while we aren’t opposed to indulging especially during the holidays, we wanted a hot chocolate that we could feel good about.
What started as a joke became a real craving, and so back in 60 degree Los Angeles winter we took to Erewhon to rip us off in the name of vegan hot chocolate. If you aren’t familiar with Los Angeles grocery shopping culture, Erewhon is a wonderfully overpriced health food grocery store that we love to hate and hate to love.
And as much as I enjoy calling this a “recipe”, it’s really just stirring some ingredients around in a saucepan. So to make up for what this post lacks in instructions, I have an overload of photos for you to scroll through and hopefully a little insight on some of the benefits of opting for a cup of this over the more tempting traditional hot coco.
I gathered the following ingredients, some from Erewhon and others I already had:
- Cacoco Drinking Chocolate, “The Original” (can be easily replaced with regular Cacao powder)
- Coconut Hempmilk / Califia Vanilla Almond Milk (substitute for your favorite non-dairy milk, I want to try this one next)
- Ground Cinnamon (not going to link because who doesn’t have cinnamon in their kitchen?)
- Organic Tumeric Root Powder
- Trader Joes Manuka Honey
- Soy Whip Whipped Cream (possibly the best tasting whipped cream substitute, v. impressed)
- Biovelle CBD Coconut Oil (what the heck is CBD oil? I’ll explain in a sec.)
Quick squad pic:
This was a drinking chocolate mix I found at Erewhon and it seemed more fun than regular cacao powder. I’m not sure how this would turn out without using this specific cacao brand, but from the combo of all these ingredients came EXACTLY the vegan hot drinking chocolate that I had imagined. And that, like, never happens when I’m craving something and attempt to create it, thus comes this blog post.
I also didn’t really follow any particular direction when it came to measurements, not that there were many directions to follow. The instructions on this package of drinking chocolate advised adding 4 tablespoons of powder per 2 ounces of milk, but my measurements were already flawed by the time I reached this step as my method for measuring out milk consisted of me filling two xlarge mugs with milk and dumping those into the pan. See images below that Zack took spying on me while I measure hempmilk incorrectly. I may have added just a little more milk than two mugs full, which was to account for evaporation. Thinking ahead at it’s finest. This technically was exactly how much milk we needed but definitley threw off all following measurements. A series of taste tests and approximately 10 tablespoons of the chocolate mix per 2 xlarge mugs of milk later I had a good base going.
I know I listed two types of milk here which might be confusing. This is only because Zack and I couldn’t agree on a type of milk to try, so we settled for both types. For the record, we ended up using the hempmilk and it was delicious.
Another side note about this Cacoco Drinking Chocolate is that the instructions also say you should blend, shake or whisk the mix into the heated milk, however I just aggressively stirred it on medium heat while adding the rest of the ingredients until there were no lumps and didn’t feel the need to do any blending. I’m sure blending would lead to good results too, and you’d probably get it to a milky consistency faster, but if you don’t have a blender handy or you’re just lazy, I’d say it’s mostly an unnecessary step.
Once I had a lump-free drinking chocolate base going I went on to adding the rest of my ingredients. I’m sure you can cut this whole thing short and just drink the chocolate at this point and it’ll taste great, but we wanted our drinks to have a little more pizzaz.
Next I added a tablespoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of turmeric, and a dollop of Manuka honey. I am also a huge fan of making “golden milk” which is another warm, turmeric-heavy non-dairy milk beverage, but I wanted this to taste closer to a hot chocolate drink than a turmeric drink so I went easy on the turmeric. You can obviously adjust these additions to your liking, for example if your milk is already sweet you may not require so much honey. Another great addition could be maca powder which brings its own impressive lineup of health benefits.
Manuka honey’s health benefits are outstanding due to it being so naturally antibacterial. To be considered potent enough to be therapeutic, Manuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF, UMF standing for Unique Manuka Factor which is a scale that measures the amount of MG (methylglyoxal) in the honey, the compound found in Manuka honey that gives it an antibiotic effect. This TJs Manuka is labeled as having 10+ UMF, and I’ve been drinking it in tea and coffee for a couple years now. To get an idea for the benefits of Manuka honey do a quick google search and you’ll instantly be overwhelmed with the amount of information out there, but you may begin to understand why it’s so expensive. I like it because it boosts immunity and it’s great for the skin, plus the 821 other amazing things it does for your health. End Manuka rant.
Side note, the best place to sit in the kitchen is always the counter, no matter how many chairs or stools you may own.
The last ingredient I put into the drinking chocolate is entirely optional, but hugely beneficial… and we’re making superfood drinking chocolate here, after all. I recently learned about this stuff and it’s benefits and this is one of the first times I’ve tried it, so I’m no expert here but I’m excited about how this could improve my daily life and overall wellness. Enter: CBD oil.
CBD oil, or “Cannabidiol”. For those who don’t know what that is (which I assume is most of us) you may be thinking this sounds like something weed-related, and it is, but don’t worry. This is very PG. CBD oil is a compound that is extracted from the cannabis plant that contains vast benefits but is without the usual effects on your sensory system. That’s because CBD is completely 100% non-psychoactive (no “high” feeling, whatsoever). That’s a big selling point for me, as this wouldn’t be a product I would personally use or enjoy if it were mind-altering.
What this stuff does do though might surprise you, and most likely could benefit your quality of life in some way. Most of the benefits of CBD oil stem from it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that CBD oil has an impact on anxiety management, and can provide anxiety relief by having an effect on the way your brain receptors respond to serotonin. This for me is hugely beneficial as I’ve begun to battle a degree of anxiousness in recent years.
But perhaps a bit more significant are the results that CBD oil has shown as a means to a cure or therapy for a variety of conditions and diseases that were found to be previously untreatable. To name a few I’ve read about – neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, epilepsy, the list goes on.
It may also help with general pain relief, insomnia, depression, even acne. I highly encourage anyone who is curious to do some more research on what studies have been done with CBD oil and what science-backing it already has. The internet per usual will provide you with a lot more information than I can. I am simplifying CBD oil’s known benefits here for the sake of anyone who didn’t want to read a full blown scientific eassy on a lifestyle blog.
I first became aware of the potential of CBD oil through friends who were beginning to use it for it’s benefits, and as more and more studies emerge that prove it to be a treatment for so many different conditions I’ve started to add it into warm drinks (like this vegan hot chocolate) and plan on taking it frequently this year. This specific coconut oil infused with CBD is actually a product my friend recently launched, and she’s offering my followers a free mini (4oz) jar with any purchases through my code “Helen”, in case anyone out there is interested in trying it with me this year!
Next, I poured our liquid magic into the aforementioned xlarge mugs. Then comes the fun part, WHIPPED CREAM! I added massive mountains of whipped cream to both our mugs, and then sprinkled those mountains with some cinnamon as a pretty garnish.
Lastly, this delicious soul-warming and health-bettering beverage is best enjoyed with a good movie, we watched The Family Man. A Christmas classic and favorite of Zack’s that I hadn’t seen before and it hit all the feels.
I really hope that everyone has emerged from their holiday cocoons full of love and joy and is looking at the beginning of a wonderful year. A very Happy New Year to everyone who is reading this post, I appreciate your attention span more than you know. Sending my love! xx