Creamy dairy free hot chocolate
It’s that slightly depressing time just after Christmas and New Years where the weathers still wet, grey, and cold enough to freeze-your-toes off but with no festivities to go along with it. So, when better to treat yourself to the richest creamiest dairy free (and vegan) hot chocolate ever!
I often find that, post-dairy intolerance, milk substitutes never seemed to create quite the same depth or creaminess that makes hot chocolate so delectable. This is simply due to fat content. Fat allows for a creamier texture and that warming feeling as the liquid lines your mouth and your throat.
Unfortunately. milk substitutes are usually mostly water, unless you use canned coconut milk, but that would be expensive (although not inadvisable).
After a bit of experimentation I found that just the right combination of dark chocolate and cocoa along with any nut milk or soya milk does the job just as well as regular cow’s milk. Almond milk works very well. The cocoa (NOT drinking chocolate or hot chocolate powder) adds depth but doesn’t do much for the drink’s texture on its own. The dark chocolate adds the pleasant creaminess but the chocolate flavour becomes diluted when added to the watery milk. Yet, once combined create the perfect harmony of depth of flavour and indulgence.
In terms of flavouring, I would always recommend adding vanilla extract to any sweet chocolate concoction. It brings out the flavour and sweetness of the chocolate, countering the bitterness. I also added a teaspoon of golden syrup at the end. Not only does this enhance sweetness, but also gives the hot chocolate a hint of caramel (and who doesn’t want that?).
If you want to feel really luxurious you can always add a tablespoon of coconut cream. I was in a bit of a rush and failed to whip my coconut cream enough to balance it on top of the hot chocolate. But to be honest, I prefer it stirred in any way to add a whole new level of richness.
Other than that, the hot chocolate world is your oyster. I always add some cinnamon and cayenne pepper for a Mexican style twist. You could make the best mocha ever and add a shot of espresso. You could add peppermint extract for a more seasonal twist. Or try adding a shot (or two) of whiskey/brandy/rum, because why not.
This serves one, so it’s easily doubled, tripled, or quadrupled for a crowd, but why share?
Creamy Dairy Free Hot Chocolate
The most decadent dairy free hot chocolate for cold winter days.
- 250 ml Almond milk or any other nut milk/soya milk
- 30 g 70% or over dark chocolate most chocolates at this percentage will be dairy free but make sure to check the ingredients to be sure or get specifically dairy-free chocolate to be sure
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder NOT hot chocolate powder or drinking chocolate
- 1 tbsp white sugar or vegan alternative
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp golden syrup or maple syrup optional but recommended
Pour your milk of choice into a pan. Add the dark chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Put the pan on a medium to low heat a stir constantly with a whisk. You need to make sure the chocolate incorporates into the milk as it melts.
Keep whisking until the chocolate is completely melted, the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture is incorporated. Keep going until the mixture reaches scalding point but is not boiling (you don’t want this to boil, if the chocolate burns it will become bitter). At this point, stop whisking and remove from the heat.
Taste the hot chocolate. Yes, this is an important step; you may need to adjust the sweetness. If it is too bitter for you add some golden syrup or maple syrup, this will incorporate much more easily into the finished drink and enhance the flavour.
Finally, pour into your favourite mug, sit back, sip and live the life you’ve only dreamed of.
Hot chocolate is a particularly versatile drink, this version is no exception. If you wish to go outside the box, try one of these flavour choices.
- Mexican inspired: add ½ tsp each of ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper after the vanilla extract in step one.
- For the best mocha ever: add a shot or two of espresso after step three.
- For a peppermint hot chocolate: add ½ tsp of peppermint extract or use any leftover candy canes as a stirrer for added festivity.
- Enjoy booze with your chocolate? Add a shot of your favourite whiskey, brandy, or dark rum for a kick.