by: Sherika Tenaya
There is nothing more comforting, more warming, more commemorate of home than a deliciously made cup of hot chocolate. And what better time to partake than now, as winter snows barrage the senses, chill the extremities, discourage travel, and induce a sense of quiet introspection and spiritual hibernation.
Just about everyone has, at one point or another, enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate, whether from a pre-packaged powder mixed with hot water, a throw-back to one’s childhood, complete with semi-solid floating chunks of marshmallow or something made from real cacao, creamed exquisitely with milk, thick and soothing.
Yet, when it comes to drinking chocolate, not all cups are created equal. Oftentimes, the pre-packaged powders we loved as kids are full of toxic ingredients, strange preservatives and sugar overkill. Watery and thin, we drink them down quickly without any real complexity of flavor, perhaps masking the lackluster flavor profile by mixing with coffee, paying no mind to the long and reverent history drinking chocolate once held in Central and South America.
Once considered to be the holiest and most sacred of drinks, beloved for its perceived connection to the divine as well as its many medicinal uses, drinking chocolate has come a long way in our culture and is only now beginning to once again resemble the traditional drinks that marked such powerful cultures as the Aztecs and Mayans. There is no shortage of sacred cacao ceremonies popping up in alternative spiritual communities, usually centered around prayer and ecstatic dance and the sharing of potent cacao elixirs.
Regardless of whether you drink it for spiritual purposes, nostalgia or just to have something warm on a cold winter’s day, here is a recipe for a healthy, real food hot chocolate drink that I love.
Real Food Hot Chocolate
preparation: 10 minutes
- 2 ½ c. hot water
- ½ c. canned coconut milk OR 1 c. milk of choice
- ¼ c. - ⅓ c. cacao powder
- 2 TBS cashew butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 - 2 TBS real maple syrup OR 4 medjool dates, pitted
- dash of cayenne
- optional spices: clove, cinnamon, vanilla bean powder to taste
- Take all ingredients, place in blender, and blend on high for 30 seconds or until fully mixed and frothy.
- Drink and enjoy.
Feel free to play with the recipe according to your individual tastes. The range of cacao powder you add in will take it from having a lighter flavor (¼ c.) to a stronger, dark chocolate taste (⅓ c.), and subsequently, may alter how much sweetener is needed. Add in the maple syrup slowly, tasting as you go. For those who prefer less sugar, blending in medjool dates is a great way of enhancing flavor while prohibiting excess sugar intake.
If using raw ingredients, make sure that the water you add to the blender is hot, but not boiling, as that can detract from the nutritional content of the raw ingredients.
Be mindful that real cacao has some notable stimulating effects, so it may not be wise to drink right before bed, but different people have different responses to it. Be curious and playful as your build a relationship with this powerful plant ally, cultivating awareness of how it impacts your individual physiology.