4 Feel-Good, Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipes To Cosy Up With

They're better than the real thing!

donna hay hot chocolate
Image: Donna Hay

It’s that time of year again. The temp has well and truly dropped, you’ve hygged the heck out of your house and nothing sounds more exciting than the thought of staying in on a Friday night with a blanket, movie and all the snacks.
Enter: Hibernation mode.
Whilst it’s easy to slip into a state of YOLO when it comes to comfort food and beverages, there are ways you can enjoy all the goodness winter has to offer without throwing your health and wellness goals out the window—starting with these delicious hot chocolate recipes by Donna Hay.

donna hay hot chocolate
Image: Donna Hay

More often than not, store-bought, hot chocolate powders and mixtures are made from highly processed cocoa, sweeteners and additives. Raw cacao, on the other hand, is a great source of antioxidants, flavonoids and magnesium which provides a number of health (and mood) benefits.
Packed full of healthy fats and not a sprinkle of refined sugar in sight, here are 4 easy-to-make hot choccy alternatives that you can treat yourself to at home. They taste even better than the real thing and are actually good for you. Question is, which one will you try first?

#1 Almond & Dark Chocolate Mocha

Ingredients
3 cups (750ml) unsweetened almond milk 8 fresh dates (160g), pitted
2 teaspoons cacao powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup (250ml) strong coffee
70% dark chocolate, grated, to serve
Method
Place the almond milk, dates, cacao and honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below the boil and cook for 3 minutes or until the dates are softened. Using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Add the coffee and mix to combine. Divide between 4 x 250ml glasses and top with the chocolate to serve.
SERVES 4

#2 Mint & Matcha Hot Chocolate

Ingredients
1 litre milk*
¼ cup (25g) cacao powder
2 teaspoons matcha powder**, plus extra to serve
2 sprigs mint leaves
8 fresh dates (160g), pitted
micro (baby) mint leaves, to serve
Method
Place the milk, cacao, matcha, mint and dates in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below the boil and cook for 3 minutes, or until the dates are softened. Remove the mint and
discard. Using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Divide between 4 x 250ml glasses, dust with extra matcha and top with micro mint leaves to serve.
SERVES 4
*You can use any milk you prefer.
**Find matcha powder in tea shops and Asian supermarkets.

#3 Coconut Hot Chocolate 

Ingredients
400ml can coconut milk
2 ½cups (625ml) coconut water
8 fresh dates (160g), pitted
2 teaspoons cacao powder toasted coconut flakes, to serve
Method
Place the coconut milk, coconut water, dates and cacao in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below the boil and cook for 3 minutes or until the dates are softened. Using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Divide between 4 x 250ml glasses and top with coconut to serve.
SERVES 4

#4 Macademia Hot Chocolate

Ingredients
1 litre unsweetened macadamia milk
8 fresh dates (160g), pitted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cacao powder, plus extra to serve 4 vanilla beans, to serve (optional)
Method
Place the macadamia milk, dates, cinnamon and cacao in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below the boil and cook for 3 minutes or until the dates are softened. Using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Divide between 4 x 250ml glasses, dust with extra cacao and serve with vanilla beans, if using.
SERVES 4
*Recipe extracts from p.26 of Donna Hay’s Fresh + Light 12
donna hay vegan pesto

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