The weather outside is blustery and cold. Snow is blanketing everything in view. You can practically feel the brisk air pushing through your window. It’s the perfect time to bundle up in your warmest sweater, curl up on your couch and sip on a piping hot mug of cocoa.
Here are some tips to help you make the perfect cup of vegan hot cocoa so that you can make that cozy dream come true.
Picking the Right Milk
There are lots of plant-based milks for you to choose from — but which ones are best for hot cocoa? Oat milk is an excellent choice. It has a neutral flavour that won’t overpower the chocolate, and it will add a nice creamy texture. After all, there’s a reason why oat milk is prized by baristas for hot beverages like cappuccinos and lattes.
Soy milk is another great choice. It will make a thick, decadent hot cocoa. Just be careful when you’re heating up this milk in a saucepan! If you boil soy milk on high for too long, it will develop a skin over the top.
Mixing Up Your Cocoa
Next up, you want to put together the cocoa mix. You’ll want to go with a homemade mix since many store-bought mixes have powdered milk or creamer in them. Start with 1 cup of Dutch-processed cocoa powder and 1 cup of white sugar. Put them into a bowl and whisk them together.
Then, you’ll want to add your favourite flavour enhancers:
- A teaspoon of cinnamon powder will give it a warm, earthy flavour.
- A teaspoon of cayenne pepper will spice it up.
- A pinch of salt will suppress bitterness from the cocoa powder and highlight its sweetness.
- A teaspoon of espresso powder will add a jolt of coffee flavour and make the chocolate more intense.
- A ¼ cup of vegan chocolate chips will melt into the hot cocoa, making it extra rich and indulgent.
Making Your Marshmallows
Unfortunately, regular marshmallows aren’t vegan. They contain the animal by-product, gelatin.
Does this mean that you can’t have marshmallows on your hot cocoa? No! Now that veganism is growing in popularity, there are more vegan-friendly options available for treats that were previously off bounds. For instance, there are gelatin free gummy bears that achieve the same soft, squishy texture as gelatin-based gummy bears by using plant-based ingredients. Now vegans can feel free to snack on bags of gummies without worry.
So, is there a vegan option for marshmallows? Yes! You might be able to find bags of vegan-friendly marshmallows in the baking or candy aisle of your grocery store. If you can’t find them, you can always make your own using substitutes like agar agar powder and aquafaba (liquid from the chickpea can) to get pillowy soft, vegan marshmallows.
Whipping Up Your Whipped Cream
Maybe marshmallow isn’t your hot cocoa topping of choice. Maybe you would rather have a gigantic swirl of whipped cream on top of your simmering drink. If your grocery store has cans of vegan whipped cream, grab one for this special occasion. If they don’t, you can always make your own using confectioners’ sugar and chilled full-fat coconut milk.
Topping It Off
And finally, it’s time to add your finishing touches. You could sprinkle on a little bit of cocoa powder or cinnamon. You could crush up vegan candy canes to give your drink a light dusting of minty freshness. Or you could embrace your inner child and pop a few gelatin-free gummy bears on your mound of marshmallows/whipped cream.
There. Now you have the elements that you need to make your perfect, vegan-friendly hot cocoa.