You all bombarded me with requests for my secret hot chocolate recipe. I stressed over it for days, wondering if it were good enough to share. It felt like this weird thing that I came up with, and I wasn’t sure if it were fit for public consumption (literally and figuratively).
However, I then remembered that I had made it for friends before, and they enjoyed it, so what the heck, right?
And that felt like a great opportunity to discuss my favorite snacks in general. After all, it’s not like I eat oatmeal for every meal. (But sometimes, I come pretty close haha.)
I have a very addictive personality, so I tend to find a snack I like and then eat it every day for three months until I find something else to obsess over. Here are some of my favorite snacks over the past few years:
- Pretzel chips/thins/crisps/slims (they go by a variety of names, but they are just flattened pretzels) with lemon rosemary hummus
- Banana nice cream with cocoa powder and swirls of peanut butter or PB2
- Banana nice cream with peppermint extract and chocolate chips
- Dried fruit and nut combos (dried cherries and cashews; dried figs and pecans; dried apricots and walnuts; dried mango and anything)
- Oatmeal (I often have tons of oatmeal stored in my fridge from recipe testing, so I’ll just eat some for a snack haha.)
- Triscuit crackers with vegan cream cheese and chile-spiced dried mango on top
- Frozen banana slices with peanut butter
- Sliced apple with peanut butter
- Popcorn made on the stovetop (I used to have an air popper but I didn’t bring it to New York with me), flavored with nutritional yeast and black pepper, or with Vegan Richa’s doritos seasoning. I use this cooking method, without the butter and honey, obviously.
- Happy Herbivore’s Black Bean Brownies (I skip the cinnamon and flavor with peppermint extract so they don’t taste like banana)
- Avocado on toast. Obviously.
- . . . and finally, my beloved hot chocolate.
The idea for this hot chocolate came about from my many times making Happy Herbivore’s mac and cheese. The cheesy sauce is made like many French sauces, by creating a roux of sorts. In non-technical terms, you make a thick sauce by combining butter with flour, and then mixing in milk (or something like that). So while it may seem strange putting flour in hot chocolate, it’s actually not that “out there.”
I fell in love with European-style hot chocolate while in Boston. I had the dark chocolate “drinking chocolate” from L.A. Burdick, which is essentially like drinking melted-down chocolate bars. It’s extraordinarily rich, and it’s so thick that it coats your throat on the way down. To put it simply, it’s decadent. But also delicious.
After that, I went through a “drinking chocolate” phase at the end of my vegetarian days, trying all the various hot chocolates New York had to offer. I even enjoyed the famous Hot Chocolate Festival at City Bakery on my 23rd birthday.
But when I went vegan, I missed that hot chocolate. I also wanted something I could have without sending me into diabetic shock. After making my mac and cheese recipe for the thousandth time and observing the sauce thickening, I was inspired to try the same method with hot chocolate.
And sure enough, it worked. Is it rich, like melted-down chocolate bars? Absolutely not. But that makes it more fit for daily consumption. ? Am I going to claim it is healthy? Not really. But it’s not really that unhealthy, either. Especially compared to the decadent “drinking chocolate.” I would call this an IBS-friendly ode to European drinking chocolate. ? Kind of like how banana nice cream is a dairy-free ode to ice cream.
For sure, you will want to add additional maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth. I find that 2 tsp. is all I need for an enjoyable mug by my preferences! Please, please, please let me know your thoughts if you try this; I’m dying to know what others think!
What you'll need:
- 1 and 1/4 cup soy milk, original*
- 2 tbsp flour**
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder***
- pinch of coffee granules (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 tsp maple syrup or agave, plus more as desired
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ****
- 1/4 tsp cardamom****
How to make it:
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add soy milk, flour, cocoa powder, optional coffee granules, and salt. Whisk vigorously for a full minute, or until you're positive all lumps are gone.
- Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and spices. Continue whisking occasionally until hot chocolate begins to thicken; this prevents more lumping or scalding at the bottom of the pan. (I sometimes have to step away if I'm feeling too impatient. It's a great time to do dishes. ^_^)
- When the hot chocolate has reached your desired thickness--and trust me, it will get REALLY thick if you leave it long enough--remove from heat and pour into mug.
- If your hot chocolate has thickened beyond your liking, stir in a little water or more soy milk to thin it out.
Just an FYI:
*I have tried this recipe with almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk. Soy milk has consistently worked the best, but I also had success with vanilla almond milk. The coconut milk tasted good but refused to thicken. **I have used brown rice flour and white whole wheat flour successfully. I think cornstarch would also work. ***Sometimes I swap in a couple teaspoons of Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder. I do not recommend using all dark cocoa powder. ****Vanilla and cardamom is my favorite flavor. My other variations are peppermint hot chocolate (1/4 tsp peppermint extract), Mexican hot chocolate (a little cinnamon, vanilla extract, and cayenne---I don't have exact measurements!), mocha hot chocolate (vanilla extract and extra coffee granules), and almond hot chocolate (1/4 tsp almond extract).
What are your favorite snacks?