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For the chocolate syrup:
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/2 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
- 1 cup milk per person (like coconut milk, almond milk, dairy milk, or other favorite milk)
- Sweetener of your choice, like maple syrup or honey (optional)
- Coconut whipped cream (optional)
- Dark chocolate shavings (optional)
Hot cocoa may be the most comforting beverage of all time. And while I have fond childhood memories of packets of hot cocoa with tiny hard marshmallows, my taste in hot chocolate has become slightly more sophisticated as an adult.
This Paleo hot chocolate is high on the cocoa content, lower on sugar. It’s sweetened with dark amber maple syrup and gets a flavor boost from espresso powder.
Make a double batch of the cocoa syrup base and store it in the fridge so you can have truly great hot chocolate in the time it takes to heat up some milk!
For the milk component of this hot chocolate, use any type you like. For a rich vegan version, try full fat coconut milk. It’s also excellent with hazelnut, cashew, or almond milk. It also works beautifully with full fat or low fat dairy milk.
Add as much or as little of the chocolate syrup as you like. I generally add about two tablespoons (one ounce) of syrup for every cup (8 ounces) of milk. With this ratio, you’ll end up with a mug of hot cocoa that’s not cloyingly sweet.
Though there are no tiny marshmallows, you can treat yourself to a dollop of whipped cream and some finely chopped chocolate on top. Drink it on the couch with a cozy blanket and a good book!
1 Bring the water to a boil in the microwave or on the stovetop.
2 Make the cocoa syrup: Place the cocoa powder and salt in a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over top. Whisk until combined. Let sit five minutes. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and espresso powder. Stir to combine.
The syrup is ready to use immediately, or let it cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. This chocolate syrup will last in the fridge for several weeks.
3 Make the cocoa: Warm the milk (1 cup or so per person) in the microwave or on the stovetop. Transfer to a mug and stir in 2 tablespoons of syrup per cup. Taste and add additional syrup or sweetener if desired.