Anyone who has seen the holiday movie The Polar Express knows what I was thinking when I wrote my title for today's post! Oh yeah. It's that hot chocolate song scene on the train that's delicious enough to make every adult in the room want to sneak away to go make some hot cocoa, stat! Well, over the years I've experimented with nutritarian hot cocoa recipes here and there but never found one that absolutely knocked my socks off, and didn't have a too-thick or gritty texture, so I set off to make my own and now that I'm happy with it, I'd like to share it with you!
There is no guilt in a properly made hot cocoa positively overflowing with rich fudgey, fluffy vanilla-y goodness! At least there shouldn't be! Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals that make it a-ok in my book to use in nutritarian recipes. I'm actually a nutritarian rebel of sorts, because I prefer the dark cocoa variety, that has been dutched, or processed with alkali, while Dr. Fuhrman advocates the use of Natural Cocoa, no dutch, no dice. What is alkali and what does it do? Heck, I don't know. Perhaps I should. Oh well! The way I figure, I live 100% nutritarian, all of the time. I'm not going to fuss for now. I'm sure the natural version is healthier, but it just doesn't give me the flavor I'm looking for, and this keeps me off of swiss miss (gag) and blissfully happy 100% nutritarian ALL of the time, so for now, I'll just have to be a rebel. That ok with you? :) Good. If you want, feel free to use the natural version. But be warned, the results while good, aren't what I'm drinking! And I am one happy camper!
"The secret to being a blissful nutritarian is learning to make food into memories, and memories into food, and making sure neither intends to kill you!" ~Jemoiselle
hehehe That's the ticket. Moving on!
So, this method requires some prep work. Yay, eh? We basically need two major components: a diluted date puree and a homemade nut milk. My favorites are cashew (super creamy, doesn't really need strained) almond (classic, affordable) and my ultimate fav, raw macadamia milk (super buttery but $$!) so choose one and let's get this show on the road!
To make homemade nut milk, you only need four things.
1. Nuts, raw and unsalted
2. A nut-milk bag (for straining)
3. A powerful blender (vitamix, blendtec?)
4. A large bowl
Nutritarian cooking is easy! It doesn't have to be all fussy. Being exact is not necessary, besides, it is good to know your ingredients! How do you think I came to create recipes? Mistakes! Experiments! Never measuring! What does thick almond milk taste like? How about thin? Which do you prefer? How will you know unless you just jump right in? With that said, a good basic recipe follows:
Jemoiselle's Easy Homemade Raw Nut Milk
1/2c raw nuts
Directions: Puree nuts and water in a high powered blender. Strain out the "meat" by pouring the smooth pureed liquid into a nut-milk bag, and squeezing it out into a large bowl. Pour into a refrigerator friendly pouring vessel, and enjoy. Done.
See? That was easy. Too thin for your preference? Add more nuts next time (or this time, but being flexible is great!) or is it too thick? Add more water. I'm almost certain this consistency will not be too thick for anyone. It's comparable to 1% milk, in my opinion. We use it to add TEXTURE to drinks, but usually, I do not make drinks made entirely with nut milks. Texture is the secret. A little bit goes a long way!
The nut milks also add visual interest. They brighten up an otherwise dark drink. They can be frothed in a milk frother and that froth can be piled high like a mountain and sprinkled with so many delicious variations of spice, like cinnamon, cocoa or pumpkin pie spice! It gives the illusion and appearance of richness, like a guilt free whipped cream or marshmallows on whatever we choose to use it with. It's versatile. It feels naughty. It's not. I love it!
So, the next component we need is a date puree. I make this in large batches too, and use it to sweeten anything from lattes to hot cocoa to sweet potatoes in a flash. It's rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, tastes great, and lasts nicely in the fridge. Here's how we make it. Again, you need to learn the "science" of the ingredients! Adjust it to your preference if it's not sweet enough, and vice versa.
1lb Dates, pitted (preferably medjool, but any will do!)
Hot Water (fill the entire vitamix or blender carafe up)
Place dates in blender. Fill blender nearly all the way up with hot water. Allow the dates to soak in the hot water for a few minutes. Blend until velvety smooth. Place into pourable refrigerator vessel and enjoy.
Now, we've got the date puree for sweetening all sorts of things using all the fiber in the dates (no guilt there!) and we've got the nut milk we'll use as our creamy component. Let's make some hot cocoa!
Jemoiselle's Nutritarian Hot Cocoa - 12 oz mug
1 slightly heaping teaspoon dutch dark cocoa powder
1/4c date puree (more or less to taste)
1/4c nut milk
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/2c hot water (or to fill your mug)
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Variation: Dip a toothpick in pure peppermint oil, and swirl in completed mug of cocoa!
Mayan Hot Cocoa Variation: Sprinkle the top with a bit of cinnamon and/or spices like clove and nutmeg!
Here's how we roll. Take that cocoa, put it in the mug. Pour in the date puree. Add the hot water, stir until smooth. In a frother, (I use Nespresso's Aeroccino and LOVE it!) froth up about 1/4c of that nut milk with the vanilla until steamy and fluffy! Add to mug, gently mounding the foam on top. Dust with a bit of extra cocoa or cinnamon. Enjoy!
Don't forget to come back and tell me how you liked it!