Hot chocolate is one of my favorite drinks of choice, especially if I need extra calories in a day (which happens more often than you’d expect for me). It’s also a rainy day here today, so it’s perfect for hot chocolate! Not that I ever really need an excuse to drink hot chocolate.
Today, I bring to you dairy free hot chocolate. This is a dairy free, gluten free hot chocolate that can also be refined sugar free. What more do you need for a delicious drink for cold days??
If you’ve been following along with my story, you’ll see that I have a lot of food sensitivities. Corn is one of the most difficult to avoid when looking for a non-dairy milk alternative. Most in the stores have a ton of additives that, while stabilizing and enhancing the flavor, are made of corn. You can read more about that here if you’d like! So I want to start by discussing my personal non dairy milk alternatives, what brands or else how to make them.
If you already have a safe store-bought non-dairy milk, that’s awesome and feel free to skip this section, heading right down to the hot chocolate recipe. The only store bought option I’ve had luck with is from Trader Joe’s in United States. It’s Trader Joe’s Simply Almond Beverage (in a plastic green bottle). Unfortunately, I’ve learned this item was discontinued.
Being in New Zealand, Trader Joe’s doesn’t exist. Which means if I want hot chocolate, I have to make my own milk substitute.
The 2 non-dairy milks that I typically make are oat milk or almond milk. And for this dairy free hot chocolate, it just comes down to personal preference for which it’s made with. I like almond milk, and one of my friends prefers oat milk. I suggest to experiment by trying to make it with both and see which you like better (if you’re able to consume both almonds and oats).
How do you make these milk alternatives?
Almond milk: I make my own almond milk in bulk by blending almonds with water and then straining through cheesecloth, and then freeze it. So when I want to make hot chocolate, I just take out a few oat milk cubes and heat them up!
Oat milk: I follow the same method for oat milk as in my oat milk ice cream recipe, which my friend introduced me to: Blend one part oats and two parts water in a blender (i.e. 2 cups water, 1 cup oats). Blend for a minute or more, and then depending on the desired thickness, allow it to settle for a minute and try to avoid the extra oat particles at the bottom when pouring out the milk. If you want it to be thinner milk, put it through a strainer or cheesecloth. This one will thicken as the dairy free hot chocolate heats up.
Make the Dairy Free Hot Chocolate
Alright, now we’ve discussed non-dairy milk, let’s get to actually making the hot chocolate. It’s such a simple recipe, you’ll forget that people ever used packets or pre-mixed hot chocolate drinks.
This is for one serving, with minimal dishes because you just use a microwave safe mug and use the microwave. If you’d rather not use the microwave, the stovetop works just as well, and the instructions remain the same. Just put it over medium-high heat and stir often.
In a mug, combine 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons cane sugar (or maple syrup), a dash of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of homemade vanilla extract.
Salt seems a bit odd to add to something sweet, but it actually enhances the sweetness. So don’t skip the salt!
Stir in about 2 tablespoons of boiling water, to mix it together so it doesn’t clump when the rest of the liquid is added. If you skip this step, or pour in too much liquid at the beginning, it’ll be really difficult to mix out any clumps that occur, and it just adds more work.
Pour in your choice of non-dairy milk, stir slightly, and heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on how hot you want it to be.
Sometimes I like mint hot chocolate. In this case, I will steep peppermint tea in about half a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes, and add this in place of some of the milk.
If you want a bit of spice, I would suggest adding a dash of cinnamon.
As said above, you can easily replace the white sugar with maple syrup! That’s what I do. I’ve tried honey, but it gives it such a different flavor (and then isn’t vegan). Maple syrup doesn’t change the flavor much and gives it the same sweetness!
Print It Out!
Here’s a printable version of the dairy free, gluten free hot chocolate recipe if you’d like to add it to your collection:
I hope you like it!