This vegan hot cocoa recipe is rich and creamy. You can spike it with your favorite booze or drink it as-is.
I’ve been tinkering with my vegan hot cocoa recipe, because I wanted something to spike with the mint rum I made last week, but you can also drink your cocoa straight up, without booze. If spending half the week waiting for mint rum to infuse is not on your timeline, you can also use light or dark rum, whiskey, or white whiskey to spike your cocoa. If you’re making this for a party (recommended!), I’d suggest setting out a few of these options with written directions, and let your guests pick their poison.
A lot of folks are surprised to learn that vegans can even eat chocolate. While a lot of commercial chocolate – read: Hershey’s – is not vegan, good quality dark chocolate is totally vegan. Chocolate comes from the cocoa plant, and your basic dark chocolate only has three ingredients:
- cocoa powder – solids from the cocoa plant
- cocoa butter – fat from the cocoa plant
The reason commercial brands add milk and butterfat to their chocolate is to make up for the fact that their product contains so little (or no!) actual chocolate. Cocoa butter is a lot more expensive than butterfat or milk fat, so they use these cheap, animal-based fillers instead of the real deal.
When it comes to cocoa, though, that whole argument is kind of moot, since you’re just using the cocoa powder – no cocoa butter at all. All you need to do is substitute non-dairy milk for the cow’s milk in any cocoa recipe, and you’re good to go. If you want really decadent, rich, creamy hot cocoa, though, you need some extra fat, and that’s where I have a favorite trick: use coconut milk!
I used to make this recipe with more coconut milk, but it was too rich for me. My updated vegan hot cocoa recipe uses some full fat coconut milk plus soy or almond milk for a better balance of fat and flavor. There is still a coconut taste, so if coconut isn’t your thing, I’d suggest using all soy or almond milk. The cocoa won’t be as rich, but it won’t taste of coconut. You could also use vegan creamer in place of the coconut milk, if that’s your speed.
I also use brown sugar in my recipe instead of white sugar, because I like what the molasses from the brown sugar adds to the flavor mix. If molasses isn’t your thing, just go for regular white sugar.
So many options! The basic recipe is below – adjust however you like to suit your tastes!
Vegan Hot Cocoa
Yield: 4 cups; about 6-8 servings, depending on your mug size
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 15 ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups soy or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla glycerite
- 1 ounce mint rum or light or spiced rum, whiskey, or white whiskey (optional – This amount is per mug, not for the whole batch. Leaving the booze on the side means you can decide whether to spike, mug-by-mug.)
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, whisk cocoa powder and coconut milk together until the powder is mostly dissolved. It won’t dissolve completely at this point, so don’t worry if there are small lumps in there.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the booze. Heat on medium-low, whisking constantly, until the cocoa powder is totally dissolved and the cocoa is heated through
- Serve immediately. Pour whichever booze you’re using (if any) into the bottom of a mug, then top off with cocoa. If you’re not planning to serve right away, turn off the heat, and just turn the stove on to heat it back up when you’re ready to dish out a mug or two.