As if a mug of hot cocoa wasn’t the cure for what ails you all winter long, this Good-For-You Hot Chocolate recipe is truly chocolate therapy bliss in every way.
There aren’t many things that warm me up, calm me down and make me feel well-for than a warm mug of hot chocolate. When my feet get cold in my ski boots, I’m easily convinced into the lodge for a steamy cup where I’ll lounge until I get to slurp up the sweet chocolate sludge from the bottom before heading back out into the snow again. When I return home from a chilly ride or run, or from a foray into the mountains, the first thing I do before hopping in the shower or cozying up is to put the pot on to warm a sweet chocolate potion for myself. Lately, I’ve been upping the ante a bit by making my own cocoa potions (ie: ditching the packets and powders and incorporating a few ingredients I already have in the pantry instead,) and adding collagen powder + medicinal adaptogenic herbs to feed my brain, ease stress and keep myself balanced. Also, this coconut whipped cream. Sweetest death!
What are adaptogenic herbs? They’re literally compounds that help your body to deal with stress from all directions – internal, external, environmental, emotional and otherwise. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me add certain types of herbs to freshly squeezed juices, but there are a few really important and powerful herbs that are just perfect paired with cocoa. These herbs can be a great support for healthy eating regimen, and act as ingredients to boost the benefits of the foods you eat and healthy practices you already employ. I like to think of them as super-powered spices that truly improve my well-being, and the flavors of my food.
The ingredients here are simple; pick your favorite milk or water (I like water because I feel that the herbs dissolve more easily,) and warm it up. Mix in raw cacao powder, vanilla powder and a little bit of your favorite sweetener (I love raw honey.) I like to add a scoop of collagen too, but this is completely optional (and not suitable for vegan diets.) Then, add herbs to your liking and top with this completely incredible Coconut Whipped Cream which is delicious anywhere you need a little dollop of decadence.
That said, there may be a few items here that are new to your pantry. Specifically, adaptogenic herbs, collagen, vanilla powder and raw cacao. You can find nearly all of the special ingredients I use in this recipe here. Note, first that the vanilla powder and cacao powder are NOT protein powders! They’re raw whole food compounds that are naturally derived, not processed. When it comes to vanilla powder, I don’t suggest substituting with vanilla extract here; the powder is mild and sweet and blends well with the hot liquids, where as hot liquids can scald vanilla extract and alter the flavor. You can typically find vanilla powder in your grocery spice aisle. If not, stir in vanilla extract once the cocoa mixture is off the heat!
I use raw cacao powder here but if this is hard to find at your favorite grocery store, an unsweetened cocoa powder will also work, just add a bit of extra honey if it suits you! Lastly, I love using Vital Proteins Unflavored Collagen Peptides, and I mix it into hot drinks here, into juices and teas as a nice little protein boost that beautifies my skin, keeps my nails and hair healthy, and aids digestion.
When it comes to herbs, my recipe below calls for Chaga mushroom, reishi and ashwagandha, and I typically slip in a little maca but you could also add Ho Shou Wu, Pearl, or any other early medicinal herbs you like. I like these specifically for hot chocolate because the flavors blend easily into the chocolate, making an earthy deep and satisfying cocoa potion! Stirring them into hot chocolate also seems to be a great way of helping my body with stress management, hormone balancing and brain energy. (Who doesn’t find sitting down with a cup of cocoa to be soothing? Now it actually IS!)
If you’re new to adaptogenic herbs, I’ve written a little post about how I use them and which ones I like for which purposes here. Enjoy!
- 1 cup hot water or your favorite alternative milk
- 2.5 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1 tsp raw vanilla powder
- 1/2 tsp each reishi, chaga and ashwaganda and maca powder (optional)
- 1 recommended scoop unflavored or vanilla collagen (optional)
- 1 - 14oz can of full fat coconut milk
- ¼ tsp flaky sea salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
- Refrigerate can of coconut milk, 8 hours or overnight.
- Place metal mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator or freezer 1 hour before making whipped cream.
- Open can of coconut milk, taking care not to shake it. Scoop coconut cream solids into cold mixing bowl. Reserve remaining liquid for another use.
- Beat coconut cream using electric mixer with chilled beaters on medium speed; turn to high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form, 7 to 8 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla extract to coconut cream; beat 1 minute more. Taste and add more sugar if desired.
- Whisk the cacao, vanilla powder, collagen, honey and herbs into the hot water or milk until completely completely dissolved. Top with dollops of whipped coconut cream and dust with cacao. Enjoy!