It doesn’t get much higher vibe than this lemme tell ya. If you’re looking for the ultimate hot chocolate recipe, I am telling you really truly honestly no bs, there's a good chance this is it. When I was growing up, I felt like I was on a lifelong quest for the best hot chocolate. It’s like finding the perfect brownie. Bad versions of either are still not that bad, but half arsed versions are disappointing and unfulfilling, especially when you know that better versions are out there somewhere. Your best option? Make you're own.
The kind of hot chocolate you want (or lets face it sometimes just desperately need) differs - just like anything else in your life - depending on how you're feeling and what you're going through. Sometimes I need a light energy boost so hot water and cacao powder - although not decadent or indulgent - does the trick. I often make a quick blend of cacao powder, nut or oat milk, vanilla, maca and a pinch of himalayan pink salt for something a little creamier and more filling as a lively energy hit that doesn't require too much effort. When I have more time and ingredients, I add soaked cashews to make a thicker, more intense option, but recently I’ve become sensitive to cashews (I think stress, or general cashew overdose, or both), and I know many people are allergic to nuts or wary of the calorie content, so I wanted to create an option that was less dense and less rich, and easy to be made nut free (depending on what milk and nut or seed butter you use).
Although this recipe is less heavy, it's still quite filling, so if you’re catering for a movie night on the sofa and planning to down an entire glass of this after dinner, you may have some regrets (and you also probably won’t sleep because cacao is liiiiit). I’d go for this drink first thing in the morning, consumed instead of a smoothie (it is basically a hot smoothie), or mid afternoon if I’m hungry between lunch and dinner, and/or planning an evening workout. Quinoa is so high in natural plant proteins, amino acids and omega 3, so this drink is a functional option to support particularly active lifestyles.
+ Adaptogens are natural substances (often herbs, roots, vegetables or fungi) that help to decrease cellular sensitivity to stress. They go one step further than superfoods which are known as nutritional powerhouses, by actually helping with internal balance, mental and emotional activity and biological calm. I'll share a full post on them and their benefits in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, experiment with the ingredients in the Elevate It list, which I've listed as optional additions, as some are quite uncommon and difficult to source, and just might not be everyones jam.
1 cup cooked quinoa (about 200g)
30g cacao powder
500ml plant milk or water
5-6 medjool dates
2 teaspoons fresh vanilla or vanilla extract / powder / paste
1 tablespoon maca powder
Pinch Himalayan pink salt - to taste
30-40g tahini or nut butter (I like to use tahini, almond, pecan, hazelnut or brazil nut butter)
2 teaspoons melted coconut oil (could also use extra virgin olive oil or melted cacao butter)
with 1/2 teaspoon of one or some of the following superfood powders and adaptogens:
he shou wu
If you haven’t already cooked your quinoa, do so now as per the packet. If it’s loose and unpackaged (yay, good for you!) i generally bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the water is completely absorbed. Halve the cooking quantities if you don’t want so much leftover quinoa, as 1 cup of raw quinoa will over double in size and this recipe only calls for 1 cup of cooked quinoa. Once cooked and cooled (you can rinse with cold water to speed things along) add to a high speed blender with all the other ingredients. Blend on a medium speed for 30 seconds then on the highest speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is completely smooth. Taste and season, adding more superfoods, salt or dates to suit your tastes, then transfer to a saucepan and heat, whisking, over a low - medium heat. If the result is too thick, add a little extra nut milk or water to thin to your tastes.
Serve piping hot. Top with himalayan pink salt, qnola of choice or any superfoods / spices you used in the recipe, or decorate and infuse with fresh rosemary, dried rose petals or chamomile flowers.
+ You could also serve over ice, or blend with ice, for a chocolate milkshake / slushy option
+ Try also substituting the cacao powder with extra honey, cardamom, vanilla and honey, for a creamy vanilla chai option
+ Try also using less liquid to make a thicker result, which can be used as a chocolate sauce (or a custard if you substitute the cacao powder) for desserts.