The least I can do is try...

VeganMoFo 2011 #2: Chai Spiced Drinking Chocolate

In Nutrition Bliss on October 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm

A few weeks ago, I was wandering the aisles of Whole Foods– (and it was gettin’ real in the parking lot— hehe). Ok, street cred aside, I came across some drinking chocolate blends by Allegro. To me drinking chocolate evokes images of Parisien cafes and fine china cups and saucers. It also implies a rich, flavorful  beverage that is to be sipped slowly and savored– you do not slug this stuff out of a travel mug while fighting the morning commute war!

In any case, ALL of the Allegro drinking chocolate flavors looked amazing– but the one that caught my eye was the Indian Spice 54. It was basically a dark chocolate paired with Indian spices. To me, there is nothing more comforting than a hot cup of chai spiked with cardamom and ginger. I figured, these spices must be pretty amazing paired with chocolate as well! (For more unique chocolate ideas check this out).

While I love Allegro and everything they stand for– fair trade, organic products, and environmental conservation– I decided to opt out of buying the drinking chocolate. Unfortunately, it contained a some ingredients I have been trying to avoid lately– mainly milk and sugar. However, since it sounded SO good, I decided to try making my own version at home as soon as the weather cooled down.

My technique: 

I invested in a Vitamix about a year ago and it has become indispensable– it pulverizes everything I throw into it and blends up my lump-free morning green smoothies in seconds. I definitely would have killed any other blender by now with all the frozen fruit and ice cubes I am constantly blitzing.

So– people have always talked about how blending liquids on high in a Vitamix causes them to warm up because of its speed and power. I have heard of no-cook soups, scrambled eggs, and hot drinks being made in this wonder device. People who stick to raw diets use this technique quite a bit because it warms up foods without going beyond acceptable temperature for the diet. To be honest– this has always struck me as a little weird, so I have just stuck to warming up my foods in more traditional manners….until now. I decided to branch out and try this out to make my drinking chocolate HOWEVER this recipe could also be achieved in a saucepan over the stove.

The verdict: 

My result was yummy (to me)– rich, chocolatey, healthy, and nuanced with the Indian chai spices I love. I used raw cacao– so there was definitely a nice hit of anti-oxidants in this drink.

Recipe:

Ingredients

1 cup organic unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (decrease if you want the drinking chocolate to be less intense)

* 1/4 teaspoon tea masala

**inner contents of 1 cardamom pod

1/2 tsp organic vanilla powder or pure organic vanilla extract

***stevia to taste

General tip: 

If you are uncertain about how rich/spicy you want the drinking chocolate– add the cacao and tea masala incrementally until you get the flavor you want.

blender technique: 

Place all ingredients in blender– blend on high for a minute until warm and frothy. Pour into fine china and sip while gossiping with your subjects.

stove technique: 

Gently whisk or blend ingredients until well combined. Pour into saucepan and gently heat over medium heat until mixture starts bubbling (or less if you prefer to stay raw) . Follow the same serving technique described above.

* Tea masala can be found at Indian/Asian grocery stores or well stocked markets like Whole Foods. it is basically a blend of cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. If  you cannot find it,  another option is to steep two chai tea bags in your almond milk in the fridge for a few hours prior to making this.

** Cardamom is what makes chai taste like chai (even if you get it at Starbucks).  To use, simply crack open the pod and  use the black seeds. I used a pod in addition to the tea masala for a flavor boost.

*** My sweetener of choice is stevia– other options would be to add a date to the blender mix, a banana (if not going the stove route), agave, coconut crystals/nectar etc.

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