This dairy-free Mexican Hot Chocolate is packed with superfoods that will boost your metabolism, nourish your cells and warm your body, with cinnamon, cayenne and antioxidant-rich cacao.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (please, please, sing that when you read it in your head) I may win the award for the Jew who’s most excited about Christmas, but let me tell you – hoo boy, am I excited. As a California kid, there’s something magical about spending the holiday somewhere that’s actually cold.
Zack and I were walking around Bryant Park yesterday (where there’s a huge Christmas tree, a holiday market in full swing, and ice skaters in various states of fun and frustration) and talking about how this is the season when New York seems like the most itself. Don’t get me wrong – I love the city in the spring, and tolerate it in the swampy summer, but fall and even more so winter is when it feels like New York, at least to me. It might be because as a kid, I’d always spend Thanksgivings in the city, so some of my earliest memories take place between the Hudson and East Rivers: my cousins and I getting separated from our families at the Thanksgiving Day parade and deciding we’d become a traveling singing act to make our way in the world (we made $.50 in a deli before my mom found us); my fingers tingling as piping hot chocolate warmed my frozen hands after a day spent tromping around town.
Speaking of which: hot chocolate. If you haven’t had Mexican hot chocolate before, allow me to introduce you to your new obsession. It’s essentially hot chocolate on crack, spiked with cinnamon, chili and cayenne, which not only take the flavor to the next level, but infuse the hot chocolate with blood-sugar stabilizing, metabolism-boosting properties (which, let’s be real, is especially important this time of year).
This version is dairy-free, but fear not – a few special tricks ensure that it still has the rich, creamy texture of the hot chocolate you know any love. Here’s the deal: blending fat emulsifies it, which essentially means that the fat molecules are trapped inside the water (or in this case, nut milk) molecules, creating a smooth, super creamy texture – absolutely no cream necessary. It’s the same trick that makes my turmeric latte so goddamn delicious.
In this recipe, you can use either coconut oil, which is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal (plus, actually helps you lose weight!), or cacao butter, the pressed oil from the cacao (think: chocolate) bean, which is filled with theobromine, the superstar antioxidant that makes cacao such a great superfood. The cacao butter is a bit more traditional and will impart a slightly more chocolate-y flavor, but coconut oil works equally well (and is often easier to find, although you can buy cacao butter online). Bottom line: use whatever you have. I promise it’ll be delicious.
- 1 cup milk of choice (I especially love almond and coconut)
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- Generous pinch black pepper
- Generous pinch sea salt
- 1 tablespoon teaspoon coconut oil or cacao butter, melted (see note in post text for the difference between the two)
- 3 teaspoons liquid sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, coconut syrup)
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until very warm, just before boiling. Add all ingredients and whisk aggressively (alternately, blend for 20 – 30 seconds). Serve immediately, topped with whipped cream (I love coconut whipped cream) or marshmallows of choice. Serves 1.