Instead of Hunting Season or obsessing over the "perfect" turkey, wouldn't be awesome if we had Cocoa Season instead? Imagine the possibilities: Special camos for nature walks and fancy thermoses that hold all kinds of sugary, chocolatey, blissey, and frothy delights? Wouldn't a vegan IHOP be adorable with two grown men discussing the batch of white chocolate and fig hot cocoa over a stack of flapjacks? Wouldn't it be wonderful to see people in pick up trucks with kegs of cocoa instead of an animal? I thought so. One day, people. One day.
I officially declare November 11, 2011 to be the very first Hot Cocoa Season Ever. That's right. Put the guns down, grab a mug, and see what you can make. Tell me about your favorite hot cocoa moments! Don't have one? Well, make one up. You know that one about your boy/girl friend from Canada that we've never met? Who would you love to sit down with and discuss your favorite movie/band/stuffed animal with over a big cup of cocoa?
For my non-vegan readers asking, "How do I make cocoa vegan?" Take a looksie:
- oat milk
- hemp milk
- almond milk
- soy milk
- coconut milk
- cashew cream or milk
- tahini milk
- peanut milk
- pistachio milk
- the list goes on and on!
You can basically make any non dairy milk by soaking 1 c. nuts to 2 c. water overnight. Put it in a blender and strain. Use the pulp for baked goods, hummus, or sauces. Store milk in fridge and shake before using because it will settle.
For oat milk, I take 1 c. oats to 3 c. water, blend, strain, and use in cocoa or baked goods. This saves $$ on buying soy milk at $3-$5 a pop.
Coconut milk is very mainstream, quite possibly the new black. You can find it everywhere. If you really want to indulge and get the creamiest out there, go to an ethnic grocer and buy the fatty mc fat version of it in a can. Seriously. Don't be freaked out by the fat at the top of the can, it's good for you. Just give the can a good shake.
The cocoa part:
I generally like to add 1 T of quality cocoa for every 6-8 oz of milk. Now that might be too strong for some and too weak for others, but there you have it.
Alternatives are as follows:
- 1/4-1/3 c. chocolate chips in warming milk. Whisk continuously until mixed
- " with vegan chocolate of butterscotch chips. Where do you purchase them? Here and here. If you're one of those lucky ducks on the east coast, Price Chopper Brand butterscotch chips are vegan-(or so I've been told.)
Flavor variations to add to your cocoa:
- cinnamon & cayenne
- cardamon & ginger
Using white chocolate:
Mix your chocolate/butterscotch/white chocolate, milk, and syrup or sugar-( I usually throw 3T per every 8 oz.) over med heat until everything is nice and mixed. Don't set the heat on high or you'll burn your milk. Do you hear me? Trust me on that one.
What are you waiting for? Get moving. There's a 10 oz. mug of maple pecan butterscotch lurking in your pantry or grocery aisle.