My Kicked Up Hot Chocolate is the perfect sippable dairy-free, superfood treat.
Hi, my name is Steph, and I’m a choco-holic. I remember wayyyy back in 2010 when I started eating along a paleo framework. I took everything literally and was super strict with myself.
And if you’re following the logic here, that meant that I felt bad whenever I ate chocolate because even the best-quality dark stuff contains some kind of sweetener. Or a little bit of dairy. Or I didn’t know the sourcing.
See the cooking video here:
As you can imagine, eating this way too a lot of the enjoyment out of embarking on the journey to change my health. Luckily I saw the light pretty quickly and stopped being so unreasonable.
Eventually I changed my food philosophy from Über-Strict Paleo to Eat Nourishing Foods…
…one where I teach people to consider the how, what, and why of what goes in their piehole.
Anyhow, that’s a bit of a digression but it frames this Kicked Up Hot Chocolate recipe well. Because it’s okay to enjoy healthier versions of your old favorites from time to time.
Why This is a Healthy Alternative to Hot Chocolate
So let’s check out what makes this hot chocolate so special.
I started with a coconut milk base because I’m strictly off cow dairy again (pitching a fit about giving up heavy cream in my coffee is a story for another day). I love using coconut milk because it gives a creamy mouthfeel that other non-dairy milks really can’t replicate.
If you can’t have coconut, then my second choice is homemade cashew milk. Click here for my Homemade Almond Milk recipe and swap in whatever nuts you like.
Side note: One of the most common questions I get is, “Does the coconut milk make it taste like coconut?” So, many of us are used to the fake, overpowering, almost perfume-like taste of artificial coconut flavoring. That’s NOT what coconut milk tastes like. Faint coconut flavor? Yes. Tastes like a car air freshener? No.
Okay, now…let’s talk about the superfood boosts I put into this Kicked Up Hot Chocolate.
What Are the Benefits of Gelatin?
First, I added Vital Proteins Gelatin. It provides a protein punch that rounds out the macronutrients in this hot chocolate. Plus, gelatin is famous for adding even more silky, creamy mouthfeel. And, it’s so good for gut health. Triple win.
Since you’ll be drinking this hot, there’s no worries about it firming up like gelatin usually does. But if you forget about it or need to refrigerate the other serving, heating it up again will make it liquid again.
Other reasons why Vital Proteins Gelatin rocks:
- It’s made from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.
- Vital Proteins Gelatin only contains one ingredient, and it’s gluten-free and paleo-friendly…plus it provides 17 grams protein per serving.
- It has no flavor on its own. Other gelatin brands I’ve used have tasted soooo funky, but Vital Proteins doesn’t.
- It has 3,905 mg of proline and hydroxyproline per serving…two compounds needed to build collagen in your body.
- Gelatin is renowned for its gut-soothing properties. Thanks to its jelly-like nature, it digests more slowly than collagen.
What Does it Mean for Gelatin to Bloom?
In this Kicked Up Hot Chocolate, it’s important to bloom the gelatin first. (Don’t be intimidated…it’s easy to do.) Simply portion off a small amount of cold or room temperature coconut milk in a bowl. Then you’ll sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface of the coconut milk, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Then you’ll whisk the rest of the warm hot chocolate mixture into that and presto…Kicked Up Hot Chocolate.
If the superfood status of gelatin wasn’t enough, I’ve also amped up this hot chocolate recipe with raw cacao powder and turmeric. A couple notes…
Can You Substitute Cacao for Cocoa?
Cacao is different from cocoa even though it may look and taste similar. To sum it up, cacao is less processed and contains more enzymes and antioxidants.
But no worries…if all you have is cocoa powder on hand, that’ll do just fine.
The Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice well known for giving curry powder its golden color. It contains the compound curcumin which is known for its ability to decrease inflammation and its potent antioxidant properties.
If you don’t have any turmeric, you can totally leave it out. Up to you.
Kicked Up Hot Chocolate
- 1 cup coconut milk full-fat
- 1 tsp gelatin I like Vital Proteins
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
Bloom the gelatin. In a large heatproof bowl, add about a tablespoon of the coconut milk, then sprinkle the gelatin on top in an even layer. Let this sit for about 5 minutes. While the gelatin is blooming, make the rest of the hot chocolate.
Mix it up. In a small pot, combine the rest of the coconut milk with the water and honey. Heat over medium until the mixture is very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat. Whisk in the cacao powder, turmeric, vanilla extract and salt.
Finish your hot chocolate. Carefully, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the bloomed gelatin, whisking so the mixture is smooth. Pour into two mugs and serve.
**Substitute cocoa powder if you have that on hand.
***Substitute with maple syrup or coconut sugar for plant-based option. If you use coconut sugar, you may need to add a bit more as it's less sweet.
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