As the weather begins to cool, we tend to turn to warm and cozy foods and drinks like dairy-free elixirs, soups, one-pot meals, noodles, and hot chocolate. We are huge chocolate fans at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and we’re always looking for ways to add flavour, nutrition and interest to our favourite chocolate beverage. Our 5 favourite hot chocolate combinations are sure to please, and you likely already have several of these ingredients in your culinary nutrition pantry.
Types of Chocolate to Use In Your Hot Chocolate
Raw cacao powder or cocoa powder is the best base to use for hot chocolate, as most of us likely have it on hand already and it easily blends (especially if you don’t have a high-speed blender or are mixing your hot chocolate on the stovetop). However, if you want to get fancy you could also consider adding:
- Dark chocolate squares (the darker the better)
- Cocoa butter
- Cocoa nibs (either for decorating, or blend in if you have a strong blender)
- This hemp chocolate spread
Types of Liquids to Use In Your Hot Chocolate
Hot water is a great option if you are using high-quality, flavourful ingredients, or if you’re short on time. Other options to use as a hot chocolate base include:
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Our 5 Favourite Dairy-free Hot Chocolate Combinations
Chocolate and Mint
A classic combination that is popular with our staff and Culinary Nutrition Expert Program students! Mint has a sweet, cooling vibe and has many health benefits, such as aiding digestion and hormone balance, plus it helps to alleviate headaches and keep your breath fresh. It’s also an easy herb to grow at home – even if you don’t have an outdoor space!
You can use fresh mint, dried mint, food-grade peppermint oil or peppermint extract in your minty hot chocolate.
Mocha Hot Chocolate
This option is widely available at most coffee shops, but you can easily make it at home. If coffee isn’t part of your diet, try an herbal coffee alternative like Dandy Blend or dandelion root for a remarkable coffee-like flavour.
Maca Hot Chocolate
Maca has a malty, earthy, almost butterscotch-like flavour that’s an ideal companion to chocolate. It also happens to be one of our favourite culinary adaptogens, helping us to relieve stress, boost energy levels, balance hormones and increase sex drive.
If you’re new to using maca, start off with a small amount as you get used to the taste and then work your way up.
Turmeric Hot Chocolate
A powerhouse anti-inflammatory spice, turmeric adds some kick along with some strong anti-cancer properties to your hot chocolate. Turmeric has a potent spicy kick that can instantly transform beverages from fantastic to gross if you add too much – so start off with 1/4 teaspoon and go from there.
Cinnamon + Cayenne Hot Chocolate (Mexican Hot Chocolate)
Cinnamon and cayenne give your hot chocolate some sweet and spicy heat, along with a load of anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods or avoiding nightshades, try just a pinch of cayenne.
Other Flavours That Make Great Hot Chocolate Combinations
- Medicinal Mushrooms (chaga, reishi and more)
- Tahini (learn to make your own nut and seed butters here)
- Goji berries
- Orange / food-grade orange oil
- Coconut butter or coconut oil
Hot chocolate allows for lots of creativity and there are many flavour options for you to experiment with. Let us know if there are any hot chocolate combinations that we must try!
More Beverage Inspiration
- 20 Best Dairy-Free Elixir Recipes
- 20 Healing Herbs for Tea and 3 Tea Recipes
- DIY Guide to Dairy-Free Elixirs