Easing into the new year with some simple hot chocolate...
This light-tasting, creamy, hazelnutty dairy-free hot chocolate is super quick to make and if you're like me and just love all things hazelnut + chocolate, you will adore this naturally comforting and cozy drink :) .
The weather here has been less than stellar this year, dreary and glum. Simple things, like a warm cup of tea or cocoa have been helping me get through the season. And of course I try to spruce things up with some tiny burst of color (hello rose petals!) for a "happier" looking drink :) -- they are of course totally optional.
A Few Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate Making Tips
This recipe is highly customizable, and I'll be the first to admit I almost never make it exactly the same each time. Room for playing around includes:
- Trying out different nut butters (and nut milks, for that matter). I will say that a smooth and runny hazelnut butter has been my absolute favorite (the flavor is just so good). But you can try other flavors, like a good almond butter, or pecan butter, etc., or even good old peanut butter. The nut butters add creaminess and thickness to this vegan hot chocolate and also create a hot cocoa with no added oils. Just be sure to use a nut butter that's fresh and runny for best results.
- Playing around with ingredient quantities. If you want it to be more chocolatey you can add more cocoa powder (the cocoa flavor is actually quite light in this), just keep in mind that cocoa powder is a "thirsty" powder, it absorbs a lot of liquid, so if you don't want your drink to be too thick, you'll need to add a bit more almond milk. Alternatively you can use raw cacao powder for a deeper flavor. And of course it goes without saying that you can adjust the sweetness level to your liking (especially if you're substituting other nut butters, which have varying natural sweetness levels).
- If your non-dairy milk already has vanilla in it, you can add a bit less extract (to taste). You can also use a smidgen of whole ground vanilla bean instead for a richer flavor. You can also use other flavors, like orange, peppermint, and so on.
- The recipe only makes about a cup of hot chocolate (i.e. a tiny mug). You can easily multiply the recipe as needed to serve more people.
- For other spins, you can add in a tiny pinch of spice, like cinnamon, or cayenne (if you like your hot chocolate spicy), or even the teeniest smidgen of salt for a more rounded flavor.
If you like hazelnuts and chocolate together, here are a bunch more recipes from the blog:
A simple and delicious dairy-free hot chocolate with hazelnut butter. This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free, and oil-free.
Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp smooth natural hazelnut butter (or almond hazelnut*)
- 1 tbsp dark maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- vegan whipped cream**
- dried edible rose petals
- a tiny bit of shaved dark chocolate
1. Place all hot chocolate ingredients into a small sauce pan and use an immersion blender to blend everything into a smooth and uniform consistency. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can also put everything through a mini blender first (like the magic bullet) instead, and then transfer into a sauce pan for step 2. Note that if your nut butter is not super smooth and runny to begin with (especially if it has any graininess to it), you'll need to put the mixture through a power blender first in order to get a smooth final drink consistency.***
2. Bring the mixture to a light simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to warm through lightly to your desired drinking temperature. Remove from heat and pour into a mug.
3. Optional: top with any desired toppings, such as vegan whipped cream, or just rose petals or chocolate shavings. Enjoy!
*I prefer this with straight hazelnut butter for a silkier and more flavorful drink, but sometimes in a pinch almond hazelnut butter is more accessible around here (from Nuts to You Nut Butter, or Justin's). So can go with something like that if you prefer, or even just plain almond butter if you like. For best results use a fresh nut butter that's runny and smooth.
** I used coconut whipped cream here, but for a coconut-free option feel free to use an aquafaba or cashew based whipped cream if you prefer. Coconut whipped cream can be made at home from a can of full fat coconut milk — I like the Thai Kitchen brand best for this purpose (the “premium” milk, and not the “lite”). For a single serve recipe like this you can just use a small (160ml) can (you'll have some whipped cream left over). Chill the can in the fridge overnight, which will cause the cream to separate in the can and firm up near the top (when you open the can you’ll see firm white stuff gathered at the top — you should get about ¾ cup of it). You want to scoop out this solid white cream only into a mixing bowl, taking care not to scoop any of the coconut water along with it (as it will make your whip runny and not stiff). Whip that mixture with a hand mixed until fluffy, then add in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and whip again to create the whipped cream. Note that it’s very important for the full fat coconut milk can to be chilled first so it separates. If the solids aren’t this thick when you open the can, the whip isn’t going to work as well and will be too liquid:
*** Note that if your power blender pitcher is very large, you might need to triple the recipe for things to catch and blend properly.