Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Paleo Vegan hot cocoa

After a serious session of snow shoveling, fingers and ears tingling from the cold wind that permeates all clothing, the obvious craving is hot cocoa.

When I was small and still building igloos and snow-women, my mother used to make hot chocolate in a big aluminum pot on the stove. She served it up with a ladle, enough for all of us and extra friends. I think she used half milk and half water with squares of baking chocolate, probably sugar too. It was warm and rich. 

My first encounter of French hot chocolate...chocolat chaud, I was an impressionable 13 years old. At a corner cafĂ©, sitting outside pressed up against the window, I was ordered a chocolat chaud. Paris zooming by, trucks and petit cars, chic ladies skipping along the streets, a dressed up waiter set in front of me, a tea cup with a little black pool of chocolate, a pitcher of steaming hot milk, a little spoon and sugar cubes. He poured the milk into the night black of the cup, it frothed and made couds, dinner theatre for a young American girl. 

Perhaps the theatre made it taste better, but it is ingrained in my memory as the cup which all cups or hot cocoa are measured against. It changed my tastes and expectations for good. I have had the chance to travel to France many times since, and now it seems, modernization has affected the service of chocolat chaud, I couldn't find a place that serves it in such a way. Most come out pre-mixed, however, they do serve chocolate nice and bitter, with sugar on the side, unlike in the states. 

With the holy grail of Parisian chocolat in mind, how do I go about making it at home? (Without milk, because it makes my tummy hurt so badly.) A key to recent success is using fresh homemade hazelnut milk. It is richer tasting and more frothy. Refer to my recipe here. (if you are using store bought milk, thicker and richer is better like: Hemp milk, hazelnut, soy or almond.) This is a recipe for hot chocolate for two. Two intense cups. Scale up as needed.
straining fresh nut milk

1.5 cups fresh hazelnut milk
2 HEAPING Tablespoons of pure cocoa powder
Taza chocolate, 86% dark.
 Stevia "in the raw", 1 packet.
1 Tablespoon organic unrefined coconut palm sugar
**A drizzle of agave syrup, if you like.

(Optional but wonderful add ins are: vanilla bean, coffee/espresso powder, "mexican chocolate" spices, or mint! Have fun!)

place on a low heat to melt everything without boiling, or it will burn! A whisk is a good tool. Make sure it is nice a hot before serving in your most cozy mugs.
** The sugar is "to taste", and I find if I use a little bit of several types of alternative sweeteners (instead of all one type) the undesirable qualities of them are washed out. Stevia can have a strange aftertaste, but with the coconut sugar, it is virtually none.

*For a party pick-me-up, add a dash of whiskey to your cup ;)

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