Weekend Musings: My Hot Chocolate Recipe! + My Other Favorite Snacks

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?

Thick, European-Style Vegan Hot Chocolate

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.

hot chocolate gif

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.

Happy birthday Lauren!

A photo posted by allison_mccaffrey (@allison_mccaffrey) on

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!

Thick, European-Style, Vegan Hot Chocolate

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: serves 1

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. ^_^)
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

About Lauren Smith

Lauren is a herbivore, Slytherin, and connoisseur of oats. She is a former teacher who is currently studying to earn a master's degree in curriculum development. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

23 Responses to Weekend Musings: My Hot Chocolate Recipe! + My Other Favorite Snacks

  1. Christine says:

    Thanks for divulging this recipe! I can’t wait to try it! Do you think that all-purpose white flour would work? That’s what I have at home right now.

    I too go through phases with snacks. I went through a flavored rice cake phase that lasted several years. Now, I’m more into pita chips. I also like buying plain Greek yogurt and flavoring it myself.

  2. Ha! I love hot chocolate (actually I’m on my 3rd cup now….) and prefer to make it myself from scratch as well! I also really love snacks. I prefer easy to make or easy to grab snacks since I often don’t have a lot of time on my hands.

  3. Sandra says:

    I am so sorry for causing you any additional stress by demanding to know your scrumptious looking hot chocolate recipe! Maybe one day you should do a hot choocolate and oats pairing guide
    To answer your question, I rarely ever snack. However I think that implementing snacks again will make me feel healthier. Now that baseball season is approaching, I think it’s a good time to start cracking some sunflower seeds. But my favorite snack of all time is frozen chocolate covered banana.

  4. Cassie says:

    HOT CHOCOLATE IS LIFE <3 I love your snack ideas because they work for any time of the day! I love snacking on dark chocolate with a little peanut butter or a wholesome protein bar 🙂

    • Lauren Smith says:

      That’s how I learned to love dark chocolate! The first time I had 85% chocolate, I was like, woahhhhhhh, no thank you. I combined it with peanut butter to make it palatable. Of course, now I’m all about dark chocolate. If it’s less than 75%, I don’t want it. 😉 I’ve even had 95% before and I loved it!

      • Christine says:

        This blog introduced me to Chocolove, and now I’m obsessed! I especially like the extra strong dark chocolate, but the orange peel in dark chocolate is good too. I feel like I’m supporting a worthy cause by buying it, although whenever I do, I tend to consume the entire bar in one day and do not leave much leftover for oatmeal toppings.

        I’m more restrained when it comes to Lindt. I purposely buy the 85% or 90% chocolate bars because they make a delicious oatmeal topping (particularly when paired with a sweet oatmeal), but taste too bitter to consume by themselves.

  5. Annelise says:

    OH MY GOSH, it’s so good! I let it go extra long so it was SUUUPER thick and then topped it with a tbsp of peanut butter. Heaven, I tell you. THANK YOU!!!

    • Lauren Smith says:

      I’m SO happy you liked it! And I love the idea of adding peanut butter. I’ve been very close to trying that many times–maybe I will now that you say it’s good.

  6. Leander says:

    I just made this with the last of my cocoa powder. It was great when it came off the heat, but I decided to try for an After Eight kind of flavour.

    My hand slipped as I poured the mint extract. I ended up with a mug of hot toothpaste. 🙁

    Still, that first sip was amazing. I’ll try again when I have more cocoa powder.

  7. Christine says:

    Hmmm…I wonder if this recipe would work in the microwave. I just made a cheese dip that used flour as thickener in the microwave. It turned out beautifully. This recipe follows the same principle.

  8. Christine says:

    I just made this in the microwave. The hot chocolate turned out thick and rich — just perfect! It made me so excited when I tried it; now I’ll want to have it every day. I made the peppermint variation, and swapped in a couple teaspoons of Special Dark cocoa powder so that it would taste more like Thin Mints. I used white flour, and added 4 teaspoons of maple syrup.

    The trick to making this in the microwave was stirring every 15-30 seconds so that it wouldn’t form lumps or a skin on top. I lost track of how long I heated it for — maybe about 3-4 minutes. I stopped heating it when it was thick enough for me.

    I want to try the other variations of this recipe too. With the mocha variation, how much instant coffee would you recommend using? Also, if you have tried a peanut butter variation, I’d be interested to hear how that turned out!

  9. Christine says:

    I made this again. I only had about 3/4 cup soy milk left so I filled in the rest with almond milk. It took longer to thicken, and didn’t thicken as much as when I used all soy milk. You’re right that soy milk works best with this recipe. I did the peppermint variation again, but when I get some more soy milk, I plan to try vanilla cardamom.

  10. Christine says:

    What brand of soy milk do you use to make this recipe? Also, about how long does it take to make the hot chocolate on the stove? So far, I’ve only made this recipe in the microwave. The first time, I used Silk soy milk. It thickened nicely and didn’t take too long to make. I used another brand of soy milk this morning, and seemed to take forever to make. I’m going to try using Silk again or maybe using a different thickener (such as cornstarch) or making this recipe on the stove — whatever would be faster. The hot chocolate is so delicious. I’d rather have it than a hot chocolate from any coffee shop. I tried the vanilla-cardamom versions this morning. I’m definitely squiring a taste for cardamom. I like it better every time I try it!

    • Lauren Smith says:

      I’m so sorry I missed this comment. I agree that the type/brand of milk can really make a big difference. I have had the best luck with a vanilla-flavored almond milk (Silk), which is unfortunate because I never buy vanilla-flavored milks haha (this one was my roommate’s). I generally buy unsweetened and unflavored versions, which don’t thicken up as well. I agree that for the most part soy works better than almond. (Sadly, coconut did not thicken at all.)

  11. Christine says:

    I’ve made this recipe a number of times, but honestly, my first attempt was the best. I used Silk soy milk and plain white flour; the hot chocolate thickened perfectly after ~4 minutes in the microwave. Almond milk did not thicken and even different brands of soy milk did not thicken as well. I tried this on the stove for the first time today. Unfortunately, the milk scalded the bottom of the pan after just a minute on medium heat. My mom said that it’s our gas stove….

    Whenever I make this again, I’ll make sure to use Silk soy milk. I have tried this with cornstarch too — it takes half as much to thicken as flour. Also, I do recommend adding a couple tablespoons of creme de cacao as a tasty addition.

    • Lauren Smith says:

      Thank you! I personally like thickening with arrowroot starch now. It makes the final product less gritty and more silky! Unfortunately, it came make it sliiiiightly viscous, which isn’t ideal either. 😉

  12. Christine says:

    Oh! I haven’t tried arrowroot yet. What brand of soy milk do you use? I have trouble getting the hot chocolate to thicken. The only brand that seemed to work was Silk. I’m not vegan (yet), so I also thought of making the hot chocolate with cornstarch and dairy milk. I heard that cornstarch works exceptionally well at thickening dairy products.

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