A delicious hot chocolate drink with cacao powder. Raw cacao, your milk of choice, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon is all you need to whip up this tasty, comforting hot drink. Ceremonial grade cacao method included.
What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa?
Cacao (pronounced “ka·kau”) derives from the Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao is the raw, unprocessed version of cocoa, making it the purest form of chocolate you can consume. Raw cacao is a great source of antioxidants, iron, fiber, and magnesium.
What is ceremonial cacao?
Ceremonial grade cacao is 100% organic whole bean, criollo nativo cacao (cacao chuncho) from Peru. It contains its natural fat, cacao butter, and is minimally processed under low temperatures to retain health benefits. This sacred cacao is typically sold in blocks or discs which can then be melted using this recipe.
Simply substitute raw cacao powder with 40g of ceremonial grade cacao and melt it in your preferred milk.
This easy recipe celebrates the taste and health benefits of raw cacao but you can substitute it with cocoa powder if that’s what you have on hand when the chocolate craving hits.
I use 2 tbsp of raw cacao powder in my hot chocolate recipe as I prefer it less sweet and super chocolatey but you can use only 1 tbsp if you prefer a milky hot chocolate.
This recipe includes full-fat cow milk but you can use any milk including plant-based ones.
Maple syrup is great for sweetening this hot chocolate but you can substitute it with honey, or sugar. Increase the amount of maple syrup for a sweeter drink.
Cinnamon powder adds depth in flavor to this drink but you can omit it as well.
Vanilla essence creates a complex flavor. You can substitute it with vanilla paste, powder, or syrup. Make sure to reduce the sweetener if you are using vanilla syrup.
This is an essential ingredient to round out the flavors. Use a smidgen of sea salt or slightly more if you enjoy the salty, sweet flavor combination.
A milk frother works well to fully combine all ingredients in one go. Simply use a small whisk if you don’t have one on hand to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
When stirring the dry ingredients in by hand I suggest mixing them first in a small bowl and adding them slowly while whisking the milk to avoid lumps.
Heat the hot chocolate on the stove or in the microwave until it is close to a simmer. Do not boil the cacao drink to retain all its nutritional benefits.
Serve the hot cacao drink with an extra dusting of raw cacao or cinnamon powder, chocolate nibs, or a dollop of whipped cream for some extra indulgence. Marshmallows work great as well.
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Hot Cacao Drink
- Small saucepan
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Milk frother optional
- 1 cup milk or your preferred plant-based option
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 smidgen salt
- Warm the milk in a small saucepan on the stove or in a microwave.1 cup milk
- Add the raw cacao powder, vanilla essence, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt while continuously stirring the milk until well combined.2 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence, 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder, 1 smidgen salt
- Heat the cacao drink until it starts simmering. Avoid boiling it.
- Remove the hot chocolate from the heat and add it to your favorite mug.
- Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon, cacao, or some cacao nibs. Enjoy!
You can meal prep this recipe by making multiple servings at a time. Simply store the hot chocolate drink in the fridge for 2-3 days but make sure you thoroughly stir it before pouring it into individual cups as the cacao will set at the bottom.
To make a ceremonial cacao, it is recommended to use between 25 and 43 grams of ceremonial grade cacao for a cup of liquid.