Ah, can anything improve upon chocolate? The rich, velvety smooth texture, slowly melting in your mouth, the soft and mild flavor of 50% cacao, the delightfully rich and strong flavor of 85%. And if you’re a true addict, the harsh but satisfying bite of a 100% cacao bar. (aka chocolate crack! that’s good stuff. hehe)
Yes, chocolate, in any percentage, truly stands on it’s own. So we find ourselves considering our question once more. Can anything, truly improve upon chocolate? Our conclusion? The true chocolate lovers must answer a resounding and emphatic “never!”. Exactly and precisely!
While chocolate stands tall and confident on the hill of foodie fame, I risk offending the purists by mentioning that I do think it is within the realm of possibility that certain, worthy flavors may be privileged to be called “complimentary” of chocolate. Indeed, certain flavors can lend an interest, a new experience if you will to chocolate (Gah! I hate using that phrase “if you will”! But it just seems to fit here.)
The flavor I am now choosing to showcase with chocolate, in honor of the holiday spirit and season, is the dynamic & bold peppermint.
The inspiration of this drink came as I observed the many holiday specialty drinks being offered at coffee shops. I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired of seeing Caramel Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Eggnog Lattes, White Chocolate Peppermint Mochas, Gingerbread Lattes and all that stuff that I can’t drink.
I’d like a warm “Christmasy mug o’ something” I can enjoy too, thank you very much! And as I cherish the hope that I’m not alone in this desire, I set about to create a holiday drink for those of us striving to stick to the – though sometimes strict but always worth it – straight and narrow road of health.
Voila! Peppermint Hot Chocolate was born! No espresso, caffeine*, dairy, or sugar. Finally.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate with Steamed Almond Milk
- 1 peppermint tea bag (Use a high quality brand without artificial flavors to reap the stomach soothing benefits of the peppermint.)
- 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder * (Cocoa powder has very minimal caffeine compared to coffee. You should be just fine sipping on this before bedtime. Be sure to choose a high-quality brand such as Green and Black’s.)
- 1 stevia packet (Use honey or agave nectar if sugar isn’t a problem for you.)
In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk almond milk, cocoa powder, and stevia until milk is steaming and powders are thoroughly dissolved.
Pour over the tea bag in a large mug and allow to steep for 5 -10 minutes (depending on how strong you want it). I start drinking mine right away and just leave the tea bag in there. Feel free to add more cocoa powder if you like more chocolate flavor or add more milk and a second tea bag if you prefer more peppermint flavor.
Hmm, it’s time for some Peppermint Hot Chocolate…