Hot Chocolate w/ Coconut & Almond Milks-When it snows like crazy!

by Julie on November 23, 2010

We climbed into bed on Friday eve with a little snow gently floating down and woke up to a winter wonderland of white-it had snowed like crazy!  We couldn’t believe our eyes!  It was gorgeous!  I just love how snow can transform any outdoor setting, tidy or not, and make it a beautiful landscape.  An unkempt yard or even a junk heap seems quite charming when piled with snow.  And my Garry Oak trees that some say are scraggly, are my very favourite snow scene in my yard as I love the pattern and texture when the branches are laden with heavy snow.  But… it’s only November!  Not sure what’s up with mother nature but she sent this scenery a wee bit early for some people who where completely caught off guard.  It’s been years since we’ve seen snow in our little town much before the Christmas holiday, so we were some surprised!

The kids of course were out in a flash when they woke up, almost as excited as a Christmas morn!  Me on the other hand, had mixed thoughts since I still own a retail shop, and it was a Saturday “get ready for the holidays” shopping day that ended up being a bit of a quiet one.  However, c’est la vie!  I can’t control mother nature and her shenanigans, so just enjoy it, which is what I did, camera in hand!

Every surprise snow day needs hot chocolate and if it can be healthier hot chocolate, all the better, don’t you think?  It’s pretty easy to make a healthier, dairy free, yet tasty hot chocolate and the kids hardly notice the adjustments.  I like to use a combination of stevia and agave.  This way I find that I use less agave which is still a serious sugar but with a lower glycemic index and I use less stevia which can sometimes have an after taste.  But do as you may, if you just prefer agave then go ahead or if you are not doing sugar right now, just use a little stevia.  The cinnamon is a nice addition, makes it almost like a Mexican Cocoa, but again, it’s optional if you’re not keen on it.  I managed to find some vegan marshmallows to satisfy my kids needs for festive hot chocolate.  They aren’t filled with as much gunk but are still beet sugar filled so beware, keep your eye on the bag–cuz when your not lookin’….!

Hot Chocolate w/ Coconut & Almond Milks
Yield: 24 oz,  2 large mugs or 4 small cups
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, organic if possible
1 1/2 cup filtered water
10 tbsp coconut milk powder (sorry, it’s just shy of 1/2 cup)
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
6 drops liquid stevia
1 1/2 tbsp agave syrup
good sprinkle of cinnamon
In a medium sized sauce pan whisk all ingredients and then warm gently on medium low, whisking well to remove any stray lumps while frothing up the mixture.  Adjust sweetness if desired.  Serve with just a couple marshmallows- vegan if you choose.

The coconut milk powder is rich in lauric acid which is a medium chain fatty acid.   It converts to monolaurin in the body which is the antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal monoglyceride  (can you pronouce this?) that destroys a of  number of viruses like HIV, Herpes, influenza, and many other bacterias.  Lauric acid is found in mother’s milk, rarely found in foods, but abundant in coconut oil.  It is quite yummy and I have used it in a few recipes as well.  I find it handy to have in the pantry.  It’s a large bag and a rather dear price but it lasts long and keeps well.  The same with the raw cacao powder but I do use it just for special recipes.  Some believe that raw cacao is filled with antioxidants and consider it a healthy choice but it is still a stimulant and can be quite addictive for some.  Use caution when enjoying it as you may see behavioral changes in your kids or yourself if you over do it–if you see them bouncing off the walls, you’ve over done it!  No, seriously, it can keep you awake at night so don’t serve this at bed time.  Moderation is key here.  Alternatively, one can use carob powder in place of the cacao powder or a combination of the two for a nice flavour and a reduced amount of cacao.  Do note that this is not exactly an alkaline bevvy but it’s a whole lot better than a good many hot chocolate options out there –the almond milk is another healthy benefit.

The snow this week has really made me appreciate natures beauty and take the time to have gratitude for living in such a pretty part of the world here on Vancouver Island.  On the cold rainy days I don’t always appreciate my home town but today is a great day.  How about you?  Do you love where you live?  What’s your favourite thing about your home town’s climate?

I hope you have a wonderful day–be cozy and healthy where ever you are:)


psst. I forgot to mention the styling props, cute huh? -the napkin is a Pottery Barn piece from last spring, the woodland mug and the cute birdie are from my retail store, The House Dressing Company, but sadly and gladly, this store is closing so I can be here, more often, I hope!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria @ Scandifoodie November 23, 2010 at 10:45 pm

These are the exact scenes I am hoping to see in Finland this Christmas! So beautiful, makes me really miss home! And what a gorgeous hot chocolate, this sounds incredibly delicious!!

Julie November 23, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Maria, it really is pretty outside here but oh my it’s frrreeeezing cold! Us Island folk don’t really know how to dress for this cold. In Norway we wore the wool hand knitted gear my Aunts made and we weren’t the least bit chilly in minus 25c for hours. Other than the cold, the light and the brightness of this snow is so welcome since we are often grey with rain clouds. I’m envious of your snowy Christmas vacation with family and traditions as it brings back the fond memories we had in Oslo. Let me know if you try the Hot Chocolate:)

stefania November 24, 2010 at 1:39 am

Buongiorno un paesaggio innevato meraviglioso e quella cioccolata calda è proprio quel che ci vuole per riscaldarsi e godere di questa bellissima neve, ciao
Buongiorno a snowy landscape and the wonderful hot chocolate is just what it takes to warm up and enjoy this beautiful snow, hello

Julie November 24, 2010 at 8:40 am

Hello Stefania, thanx for stopping by:)

A Bowl Of Mush November 24, 2010 at 8:50 am

The snow looks so beautiful!
Such a gorgeous recipe for hot chocolate! :)

corinne November 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

hello there :) just discovered your blog and don’t think it’s the last time I’ll visit it :) it looks just the way I like them 😉
Hello from not too cold Geneva/Switzerland :)

Julie November 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

Hi Corrine. One would think Switzerland would be chilly by now, maybe we have your weather by mistake:) Welcome, glad you enjoy the site, look forward to your next visit:)

Rocio Rincon November 27, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Mmmmh!!! This looks delicious! So yummy, I might try it at home.

Jill - Vegan Backpacker November 28, 2010 at 9:43 am

Fantastic photos, and recipe! This is just what I’d like to sip while inside my cozy apartment, looking out at the snow flakes. I’ve never seen coconut milk powder though. Could you use coconut milk?

Nisrine, Dinners & Dreams November 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I’m falling in love with your gorgeous photos!! The hot chocolate looks heavenly. Thanks for making it a sugar-free recipe!

admin November 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Awe thanx Nisrine. Minimizing sugar is so important in staying healthy, glad you appreciate it:)

Julie December 1, 2010 at 12:28 am

Thank you Jill:) Yes, you could certainly use unsweetened coconut milk instead. Use organic if you can and choose the thick kind not the light which can have fillers in it. The nice rich oils in the thick one are very good for you. Replace the canned milk equally with the 1 1/2 cups of water and omit the coconut powder- see how this tastes. If it is too rich, add more water or more almond milk. Ideally, one would make their own coconut milk from the older coconut meat, blended with warm water and run thru a fine sieve. This isn’t always that easy. Just breaking the coconut is feat in itself! So to make it easier these processed powdered and canned options exist in our modern world. But of course, raw and unprocessed is best if you have the time and the means. Just remember this recipe is a treat to be enjoyed on occasion, not a daily bevvy, since the cacao can be addictive. Also please note that the powdered coconut milk has a trace amount of sodium caseinate (a milk protein) as a flow agent, so it’s not technically “dairy free” but this like I said, is very little, less than 1%. Canned milk would eliminate this, but do read labels as the ingredients do vary. Let me know how you like or even alter the recipe.

Leslie December 1, 2010 at 8:33 am

Awesome post Jules!!!
I love all the snow fall pictures and your hot chocolate shot is beautiful -LOVE the mug! I noticed unsweetened coconut milk in the cooler at Planet Organic when I was home…I wonder what it would taste like instead of the Almond milk? Probably a lot thicker…just a thought. Thank you!!!

Julie December 1, 2010 at 9:55 am

Leslie, I need to take a peek for sure. I thought I saw coconut water, but maybe I missed the milk. It could be quite nice. Just check the ingredients list for fillers and nasties first. Of course homemade is best and I know sometimes your US deli’s have mature peeled raw coconut in the coolers-you could whizz this in the food processor to mince and then with warm water in a good blender and sieve it for gorgeous homemade coconut milk. Yum! It’s sooo good for you. Thanx for stopping in this morning:)

Eftychia June 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

What a beautiful landscape!! I like snow so much…

Jennifer January 12, 2013 at 3:47 am

I didn’t realise you lived on Vancouver Island! My aunt lives in Oyester Bay, and I go there fairly occasionally to visit her (I live in the Czech Republic). It’s a gorgeous place!

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