Ya’ll know I love all things chocolate. And since it’s the middle of winter, it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t post a vegan hot chocolate recipe. I love a good, thick hot chocolate but it’s hard to find recipes that don’t call for a ton of sugar. So I created this one to satisfy that sweet, chocolate-y craving without any cane sugar or even stevia. Dates and real salt create a natural caramel flavor while raw cacao powder brings the chocolate. This recipe is all about real whole foods with a pinch of salt to enhance all of those flavors.
Now don’t expect this to taste like melted Hershey chocolate; if you have had raw cacao powder before, you know it’s got a little bitterness to it. (Cacao powder is not to be confused with cocoa powder, which has been processed to be slightly sweeter and richer. If you only have cocoa, you can sub that into this recipe and it will still be absolutely be delicious, but you might not get all of the same health benefits that raw cacao brings. We’re talking hot chocolate here though, so if health is not your priority here, I hear ya. Cacao or cocoa will give you a delicious drink here, but for those of you who like a little bitterness like me, go with the cacao. You won’t regret it.
The other crucial component of this vegan hot chocolate is the Real Salt. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am OCD about my salt. I only use Real Salt and NEVER white table salt because it’s the only pink salt harvested in the USA (pink salt = higher mineral content = better flavor and better for you). They also offer it in bulk packages so you can get it affordably.
The salt totally brings out the date’s sweetness in this recipe, as well as the chocolate. It balances out the whole recipe, so you definitely don’t want to leave it out here. Feel free to adjust to your preference but I’ve found that a half teaspoon gives the perfect sweet and salty flavor. I like to finish it off with an extra pinch on top too so you get that salty flavor from the first sip.
Now, for the secret ingredient here: banana! I debated calling this recipe Salted Banana Vegan Hot Chocolate, but the banana is really only here for function, not necessarily for flavor. It helps to add a little thickness to this recipe without using potato starch or cornstarch (which a lot of hot chocolate recipes contain, weird right?), as well as a little extra sweetness along with the dates. I used half of a frozen banana but you could totally use fresh too; whatever you have on hand will work just fine.
Use this as a base recipe and experiment! Add cinnamon, maple syrup, or even add a little water to thin it out for a lighter version. I also have a feeling that this recipe will be delicious over ice, come summer. Have fun with this one and make it your own!
As always, let me know if you try this recipe by tagging me @hashtagvegan on Instagram and using #hashtagvegan so I can see your creations!
For the animals,
Salted Cacao Hot Chocolate
- 2 C unsweetened almondmilk
- 8 medjool dates pitted and soaked to soften
- 1/2 medium banana
- 3 Tbs raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp Real Salt
- Put all ingredients (except for your toppings) into a blender and blend until smooth. Mine took under a minute in my Vitamix. The moister your dates are, the less time it'll take to blend here so I recommend soaking them in hot water for five minutes before blending. (Soak, then drain!)
- Pour everything into a small pot and heat on low-medium for about ten minutes, or until it's heated throughout. Be sure to whisk it pretty continuously so it does not burn and try not to let it boil.
- Transfer carefully to two mugs using a ladle or attempt to pour directly from the pot if you want to create a big mess like I did.
- Top with a pinch of salt, vegan marshmallows, or coconut whipped cream, and enjoy.
– 1/2 medium banana0