There’s few things in life that are nicer than coming home from a walk in the winter, kicking off your wellies, and snuggling up on the sofa in your duvet with a great big mug of hot chocolate. It’s even nicer when that comforting hot chocolate is packed full of healthy ingredients that are so good for your body.
This great big mug of deliciousness (seriously, this mug is so huge I have to hold it with both hands!) has coconut sugar to boost your mood, cacao and cinnamon for a powerful antioxidant hit, and plenty of lovely Alpro Oat Original oat milk. This oat milk hot chocolate is the perfect thing to warm you in winter, but it also has the added bonus of leaving you glowing from the inside out too!
Oat milk is a wonderful thing- just one cup of this lovely stuff provides you with nearly 40% of the amount of calcium, and if you suffer from anaemia and are looking for vegan options for iron intake, one serving of oat milk contains 10% of the RDA of iron you need. It’s super important to make sure you get enough iron on a vegan diet, especially if you’re of the female persuasion (something my mum is always worried I don’t get enough of!), so choosing to consume products like oat milk are a great way to make sure you’re getting enough. Leafy greens, beans and nuts are also great source’s of iron, but they’re probably not the most delicious ingredients to add to a hot chocolate!
If you’re new to oat milk, you’ll probably be surprised by it’s watery consistency, and cloudy appearance, as it doesn’t resemble cow’s milk in the same way that other nut milks do. The nice thing about oat milk, is that it is naturally sweet, so Alpro doesn’t need to add any crazy extra sweeteners to it. This also means it tastes lovely in overnight oats, or poured over crunchy granola, and is extra delicious in a hot chocolate! Despite it’s watery look, it doesn’t make a watery hot chocolate at all, in fact it tastes every bit as rich and chocolatey as a normal hot chocolate should, but it doesn’t leave you feeling quite as heavy and full as hot chocs made with nut milks.
The other magic ingredient in this decadent drink is the wonderful cacao. I was lucky enough to be invited to an evening of cocktails and cooking with raw cacao hosted by Ombar, with the lovely Madeleine Shaw, at the Cactus TV studio in London this week. I learnt some pretty surprising things about my favourite ingredient actually, like the fact that cacao contains a chemical called anandamide, which is similar to the compounds released in the body when marijuana is consumed, along with a number of other chemicals, some of which activate the human canabanoid system. I think that just means this hot choc is just a great big calming, comforting happy inducing drink! In fact, humans have been consuming chocolate for both medicine and pleasure for hundreds of years. I knew there was a reason I eat so damn much of the stuff!
The other exciting thing going on here is the vegan whipped cream. Yes, you heard me- VEGAN WHIPPED CREAM. This is such an exciting development in my life. It might not be healthy (if you’re after a healthy cream for your oat milk hot chocolate, then whip up some coconut cream with a little vanilla and a touch of maple syrup), but it does add a nostalgic element of sipping creamy hot chocolates, topped with whippy cream and melted marshmallows, so it’s totally worth it! And it’s Christmas, so anything goes! I added a drizzle of Coconut Merchant Coconut Syrup to take it to the next level! Starbucks has nothing on this!
Disclaimer: I’m so grateful to Alpro for sending me their amazing Oat Original to try. However, it should be noted that this is not a sponsored post, and all opinions expressed are my own.
- Alpro Oat Original
- 250 ml (1 cup) of Alpro Oat Original
- 1 large Tbsp of raw cacao powder
- 1-2 tsp of coconut sugar (adjust to your taste if you like it sweeter)
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (OR extract)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Optional toppings:
- 'Whiptop' Vegan Whipped Cream (I found it in Sainsbury's)
- Coconut Syrup
- Raw chocolate shavings
- Heat the oat milk, cacao, vanilla and cinnamon on a low-medium heat, and stir until the cacao is well combined, and the mixture is warm, but not boiling hot.
- Keep stirring the mixture, and add the coconut sugar. Heat for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Top with vegan whipped soy cream, or a spoonful of whipped coconut cream, coconut syrup and some raw chocolate shavings for a truly decadent drink.
If you want to know more about the ingredients used in this recipe, check out my ‘Raw Pantry’ page!