So, I have, at present, a 9yo son, a 4yo daughter, and a husband that enjoys childish behavior… In the winter time, this usually means “hot chocolate” or as my late grandmother used to call it: “children’s coffee”.
We have evolved over time to eating as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible. When I look at our first forays into allergen-free hot cocoa, I think to myself “Wow, we’ve even come further than that!”
So now, hot cocoa in my house is made as follows:
A can of coconut milk. Any canned coconut milk that is not marked “lite” is the thick/creamy version. Just check to see what the thickening agent is in case it’s carageenan. You COULD make your own with a young coconut broken open, coconut water into the blender and that nice fatty stuff inside put into the blender, too–pureed to perfection. But whatever… coconut milk. I happen to like the hint of sweet that comes with it.
Warm that up.
In a mug, I put some raw cacao powder. Just a teaspoon or two.
I add a TINY bit of the warmed coconut milk and blend it into the powder. If you make sure that you only put a TINY bit in–you’ll have more powder than milk and it will force the powder to absorb all of the milk instead of the milk swallowing up the powder (and creating bubbles of powder). I add tiny bits of milk at a time until the powder is well-saturated (which means it’s unlikely to bubble up when the rest of the milk is put in). It’s a slow process. It will also work for all you mainstream folks using regular cocoa mix. 😀
From there, it’s about fine tuning for taste. Cacao powder isn’t like cocoa. At least not in the United States–where “cocoa” USUALLY means “a combination of cacao powder, some form of dried sugar and dried milk” (at minimum). Cacao powder is just the stuff that makes it the chocolate… no sweeteners or dilution. So in my house, that means adding sweetener because the sweetness of the coconut milk isn’t enough (and really, sometimes we might be using almond milk… that’s not gonna do it).
We happen to have local, raw honey most of the time. Boom… sweetener. Yup–in the coconut milk.
Occasionally I might add vanilla, but so help me the kids don’t even know any better.
But there you have it: dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, chemical-free, egg-free and depending on the milk of choice, nut-free (since coconut is technically a seed anyway). ENJOY!