My alarm sounded at 5:45 a.m.. My body was awake, but my head was lost in a foggy dream. It’s a wonder I got my feet on the ground, face washed, clothes on, scrambled eggs cooked and eaten, and myself out the door just an hour later.
I am stressed. And cold. (It is January in Pennsylvania, after all.)
Enter the comfort of hot cacao. It is an hour later, and I am now sitting at my desk, hands happily wrapped around a mug of it.
Little sip by little sip, I allow its luxurious goodness to coat my mouth. Aromas of cacao and vanilla, laced with pure maple syrup for sweetness, waft into my sinuses. Pure heaven.
The comforting pleasure of hot cacao is well known but (I think) too often neglected. We think of cacao as “candy” because it is often laden with sugar.
My recipe redo features pure, raw cacao enhanced with mild sweetness and the optional addition of complimentary flavors like raspberry, mint, orange, and maca. (If you haven’t met maca, it is a powder ground from the root of the maca plant. Caramel-like and bitter, a tad like coffee, it adds depth of flavor as well as powerful plant nutrition.)
You can purchase raw cacao and maca powders in the organics section of many grocery stores, in vitamin/health stores, or online.
Experience for yourself the comforts of rich, earthy cacao.
Makes 2 servings
- 2 c. milk (dairy milk or nut milk of choice)
- 2 T. raw cacao
- 2 T. maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 1 t. vanilla
Pour milk into a small saucepan. Add raw cacao, maple syrup, and salt. Over medium heat, whisk and bring mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and serve. Makes two 8-ounce servings.
For gourmet hot cacao, try these variations (or invent your own!):
Cut two strips of orange peel, about two inches long. Infuse hot cacao with orange peel as it simmers. For a lighter orange taste, simply add orange peel to mugs of cacao before serving.
Stir in 2 teaspoons of maca powder, along with an extra pinch of salt. The result is a salted caramel, slightly bitter flavor profile.
Peanut Butter Punch
Whisk 2 tablespoons smooth, unsweetened peanut butter into the recipe. Mmmmm…
Raspberry White Chocolate
Sweeten cacao with raspberry honey instead of maple syrup. Garnish with a some shavings from a creamy white chocolate bar.
Substitute honey for the maple syrup. Add 2 cinnamon sticks and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes.