True story: I never had a cup of coffee until after I graduated college. I acquired a slight taste for espresso whilst traveling through Italy in my early 20s, but never truly understood what all the hype was about. Shortly after that, I lived for a stint in Seattle, where I did the most cliché things a 20-something could do — nannied, worked an unpaid writing internship for a magazine, and...became a barista at a local coffee house. Hardest job there ever was. I cried after my second day of 4:30am training, and I am NOT a crier. Once I got the hang of it and 'found my grind,' I still presumed to sip tea and try to talk customers out of ordering the over-sugared blended drinks. A+ employee if there ever was one.
Fast forward quite a few seasons of life later, and I'm (thank the good Lord!) no longer a barista. But I'm still sipping my tea, with the occasional Americano thrown in. Until I started experimenting with making my own hot chocolate from scratch. Superfood hot chocolate? This, my friends, is the new black. The new cold brew. The new kale. ALL OF THE TRENDS.
This beautiful beverage is nothing like the watered-down powdered milk and synthetic cocoa we were all raised on. This is a perfect pairing of healthy fats, clean protein and nutrient-dense carbs.
I use Super Vital Foods organic raw cacao powder, which is high in antioxidants and very mineral-rich. The most underrated secret ingredient I use the most often is grass-fed gelatin from Great Lakes. Gelatin is one of the ultimate gut-lining healers, packed with protein. The spices turmeric and ginger both come from roots that have anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil is packed with MCT's (medium-chain triglycerides) — great fats! — believed to be elemental in weight loss. And cinnamon. Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices. Taste-wise, I feel like it can help cover up a wealth of wrongs in any recipe...and often tricks my mind into thinking that a food is sweeter because are brains are so used to the sugar-cinnamon combo. Cinnamon actually helps to regulate your blood sugar — another brilliant reason to sprinkle it on thick to all your sweet treats.
The fun thing about this hot chocolate is that it's made in a blender, so it turns out super rich and frothy. You can sub out the almond milk for your choice of milk, or make the almond milk from scratch, if you're feeling all holistic-Martha-Stewart-y. For a natural sweetener, honey is my go-to (I kid you not I have nine different jars in my pantry), but coconut sugar, maple syrup or stevia extract would do the trick as well — all sold nowadays at well-known stores like Trader Joe's.
Holy Hot Chocolate
Makes 1 serving | dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, all-natural, no refined sweeteners
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon gelatin powder
2 teaspoons ginger powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons coconut sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
pinch sea salt
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Warm the almond milk and coconut oil in a small sauce pan before adding the gelatin, which will only properly dissolve in heated liquid. Stir until all is melted and dissolved, and then add to a blender. Add the remaining ingredients on top of the liquid. Blend until frothy (shouldn't take more than 20 seconds). Enjoy warm!