My favorite part about the arrival of colder weather is the excuse to have a tasty hot drink in my hand.
Hot chocolate is my winter drink of choice. We mix up a thermos to take along when shopping for a Christmas tree, we sip it at holiday parades while shivering in the cold, and it makes a great companion when I want to relax on the couch and stare at the lights on the Christmas tree.
Thirsty for a chocolate drink that will warm you from the inside out? Check out our rich, delicious recipe (made with natural sweeteners). This hot cocoa is best when topped with homemade naturally sweetened marshmallows!
Maple Hot Cocoa Recipe
(Makes about 4 servings)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (find organic cocoa powder here)
- pinch of natural sea salt (find real sea salt here)
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
- ½ cup filtered water (find water purification systems here)
- ½ cup pure maple syrup (find it here)
- 4 cups milk (we use whole, raw milk)
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (learn how to make your own here)
- Mix together cocoa powder, salt, and optional cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Stir in maple syrup and water.
- Cook mixture over medium-high heat, stirring, until it boils. Boil for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add milk, stir, and heat. Do not allow mixture to reach boiling.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
This recipe makes a very rich chocolate drink. So if you’re used to watered down, powdered hot cocoa mixes, you’ll be amazed at how creamy and delicious this drink can be. If the mixture is too rich for your tastes just add more milk or water.
I like to make big batches of this cocoa and store it in the refrigerator so I can quickly heat a mug without starting from scratch each time I’m craving it!
Ditch Instant Mixes and Make Homemade
My favorite part about my homemade hot cocoa is that it doesn’t contain loads of refined sugar like instant mixes. I prefer to sweeten with a natural sugar substitute like maple syrup, but you can use any natural sweetener you’re comfortable with.
Sure, instant mixes may be easier, but if you’ve been paying attention lately, you know that foods catering to our need for instant food gratification almost always have negative health effects.
Commercially-prepared instant hot cocoa mixes contain all sorts of nasty ingredients, like corn syrup (most likely derived from GMO corn), white sugar (most likely from GMO sugar beets), partially hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, and dairy products from cows treated with antibiotics and growth hormones.
Homemade means you control the contents of your recipe and the quality of those ingredients. The more pure your ingredients, the more fabulous the recipe will turn out.