Happy December! Today is the day The Einkorn Cookbook officially releases, so if you haven’t ordered your copy yet, now would be a great time to do so—go ahead, I’ll wait—and once you’ve got a copy in your hands this winter season, why not cuddle up with it alongside a glass of homemade hot chocolate?
It’s a myth that making homemade hot chocolate has to take longer and/or be more involved than making the packaged kind that comes in a box. Have you believed this? Don’t. To put together your own, real-foods, deliciously rich and creamy hot chocolate, here are the pantry staples that you need: milk (raw milk or coconut milk are our favorites), cocoa powder and a sweetener (honey or maple syrup work great). You mix the three of them together, proportions according to your tastes, and have a hot, chocolatey beverage ready in 10 minutes or less. In today’s version, I added a bit of cayenne pepper and a dash of salt, but those frills are entirely optional.
While we’re on the topic of winter comfort foods, the folks at Yahoo! Foods recently told us about their recipe database, and I had a lot of fun one afternoon scrolling through all the pretty pictures and clicking around for hot bowls of winter favorites, from red pepper cauliflower soup to mushroom pot pies to fat and sugar-studded snickerdoodles. I think I’ve said this on the blog before but a long time ago I dated a boy who didn’t understand the idea of comfort food—what makes food comforting? what does it mean?—and I found myself fumbling with an explanation of warmth and creaminess and eating with a spoon. Really though, I think comfort food is bigger than a type of recipe and more about the feelings you associate with it.
In December, I like fancy desserts and homemade hot chocolate and Christmas cookies, probably because they remind me of the days when I was small. It doesn’t matter that it was almost 70 degrees here in Nashville yesterday (!!) or that our grass is still green, December makes me want a steaming cup in my hands and winter greenery over the fireplace. Do you guys relate to this? Are you playing Christmas music and indulging on holiday movies? If so, we’re in this together—hot chocolate and all.
Our Homemade Hot Chocolate
Of course you can use whatever milk you drink in this drink formula, as long as you’re willing to adjust amounts and methods slightly as needed. Examples: when we use raw milk, the result is cleaner, thinner; with coconut milk, it’s richer and creamier. With raw milk, I usually use a whisk to mix the ingredients in the saucepan; with coconut milk, I pull out my immersion blender to make sure the cocoa fully dissolves. Likewise, I found 1/4 cup maple syrup was just right, but 1/4 cup honey felt, to us, too sweet. The beauty of making your own hot chocolate is you control how dark it is, how sweet it is, etc. Enjoy!
1 3/4 cups raw milk or 1 13.5-ounce organic coconut milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa powder (less is lighter, more is darker!)
1/8 cup honey or 1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash of salt
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients, whisking or carefully using an immersion blender to make all the cocoa powder dissolve. Taste and adjust as desired!
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.