That's right, you heard me. Did your mind immediately go to Nutella? And wintery hot chocolate amazingness? Me too.
A good friend of mine recently moved to NYC from California, and he is like my coffee-obsessed, foodie, Instagram-addict twin. Naturally, I've been taking him to some of my favorite spots, but this weekend he brought up City Bakery's hot chocolate that comes with a brick of a marshmallow floating in it.
I've been a hot-chocolate fan since I was a little kid drinking Swiss Miss with extra marshmallows like it was my job during my skating practice breaks. But recently with my current autoimmune/thyroid issues, I've been keeping away from a number of things in my dietary intake including dairy and unnecessary sugars.
So clearly, that's not really working in my favor with the hot chocolate thing. So as I encouraged my friend to get the hot chocolate, that godly smell of hot chocolate hit my nose and my inner little kid got REAL sad, REAL fast. Yes, real, not really.
This holiday season, I've been challenging myself to experiment with alternative ingredients and dietary healthy alternatives for my classic favorites- so this was no exception. Using my homemade Hazelnut Milk, I created this Vegan Hazelnut Hot Chocolate as not an substitute but what I consider an fancy lil' upgrade to a childhood favorite. The basic recipe is also diabetic-friendly, as it has no added sugars if you want to keep it as such. It tastes a lot like Nutella in drinkable form... yes, please!
This recipe is really flexible pending on your tastebuds- if you like it extra chocolatey, go for extra cocoa powder, or if you like it milkier, increase the hazelnut milk. I decided to throw some of my favorite Mast Brothers chocolate in the bottom of the cup because that's better than a marshmallow in my eyes.
Vegan Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
3 cups homemade Hazelnut Milk
*can use store-bought, it wont' be as creamy!
3-4 tbsp unsweetened Cocoa or Cacao Powder
*add more or less to taste
2 oz Chocolate
3-4 tbsp Raw Coconut Sugar to sweeten
Pinch of salt
Cinnamon Sticks to garnish
1. In a small saucepan, heat up hazelnut milk over medium heat for about 2 min. Add in cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
2. Add in optional ingredients if you wish. Continue to heat up and stir until it begins to simmer, then remove from heat. Pour in mugs, and serve!
*I personally like to drop a bit of chocolate into the mugs and pour the hazelnut hot chocolate over it rather than melting it in the pot- up to you!