This healthy hot chocolate is so rich, creamy, flavorful and absolutely delicious. And comes with all the goodness of walnuts and cocoa.
Healthy Hot Chocolate
Have you come across hot cocoa mixes with a zillion ingredients that you do not recognize? And they are most likely even bad for you. One can easily make a delicious cafe style hot chocolate at home without those mixes or a ton of heavy cream.
I sometimes make this rich walnut hot chocolate, where I start with plain milk, but increase its richness and creaminess with the addition of walnuts and blend it at high speed in my Vitamix. So rich and luxurious! It is like adding heavy cream to your hot beverage.
Just pure bliss. And you are getting healthy omega 3 fats and other nutrients, while enjoying a creamy cafe style hot chocolate!
Milk, Walnuts, Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Chips or Bar, Sweetener, Flavor, Salt
Milk: You can choose whole milk, reduced fat or even low fat. Read further below for non dairy options.
Walnuts: These nuts give a really creamy result. But you may opt for other nuts too.
Cocoa Powder: A combination of cocoa and chocolate makes this super flavorful. Choose high quality unsweetened cocoa for good taste.
Chocolate Chips: I like to use high quality dark chocolate chips, that I keep in a container next to my cocoa powder in the cabinet. But you can also use milk chocolate chips. If you use a chocolate bar, it requires chopping, so the chips are a more convenient option.
Sweetener: I use honey or maple syrup. But other sweeteners are ok too.
Flavors: Here I am using vanilla. But you can really use so many different flavors for a variety — cinnamon stick, grated nutmeg, orange zest or flavor, peppermint extract, a hint of almond flavor, cardamom, ginger or caramel sauce. Add instant coffee or espresso for a change.
Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the sweetness even further.
How To Make It
Below is a brief overview. Full recipe is at the end of post.
- Blend milk and walnuts in a high speed blender to a smooth consistency. Strain it through cheesecloth.
- Cook cocoa with some walnut milk at medium low heat.
- Add remaining walnut milk, salt, honey and chocolate chips. Heat it over medium setting.
- Add flavor of your choice. Top with hot foamed milk (using milk frother) and cocoa.
This recipe is gluten free, vegetarian, egg free and soy free.
Dairy Free/Vegan: Use any nut based milk or coconut milk instead of dairy milk.
Nut Free: Use sunflower seed butter, tahini or coconut butter/cream instead of walnuts. But these options may impart a flavor to the milk.
Flavor: Add a dollop of dalgona coffee on the top. Plus check the flavors mentioned under ingredients above.
Richer: Top with whipped cream, to enjoy it on special occassions.
Prepare plenty of walnut milk. Add salt, sweetener and store it in the refrigerator. This way you can make this delicious drink quickly at anytime.
Simply heat some walnut milk with cocoa. Add remaining milk and stir in chocolate chips. Now you have a delicious and nourishing beverage ready. Change up the flavors each time.
Storage and Reheating
Refrigerate the leftover beverage for up to 3 days. Reheat at medium setting on the stove, without bringing it to a boil.
Walnuts are nutrient dense and a source of healthy fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Being a good source of fats, fiber and protein, walnuts provide satisfaction and fullness. The effective role of walnuts in weight loss has been confirmed through research studies.
Through its effects on LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, walnuts may lower the risk of heart disease. These nuts are also a good source of certain minerals — copper, manganese, magnesium.
More Chocolate Based Recipes
- Chocolate Hazelnut Crescent Rolls
- Dark Chocolate Orange Slices
- Chocolate Hazelnut Bar Cookies (Nussecken)
- Almond Flour Chocolate Cake
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Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Dip)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Prick the eggplants with a fork in couple spots and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin turns darker and shrinks. Check foot notes for grilling, broiling or stove top options.
- The eggplants should be cooked through completely in the center. To check, press the back of a fork on the eggplant. It should compress easily all the way into the center without any resistance.
- Cut through the eggplant skin and scoop out the soft cooked flesh and mash it with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding some seeds if you wish. See note below for peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan at medium setting. Add the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, ⅓ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring in between, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mashed eggplants and cilantro. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, mashing it if needed, into a thick but slightly textured dip like consistency.
- Stir in lemon juice and salt. Adjust as per taste, let it cool and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Take the zaalouk from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it come to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you prefer.
- Chunky Zaalouk: To make a chunkier but less traditional zaalouk, insert garlic cloves into eggplant and roast it in the oven at 400˚F, along with the tomatoes. Chop the eggplants and tomatoes. Add the spices, herbs, half the olive oil, salt and mash it up to desired consistency. Drizzle olive oil and serve.
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast eggplants on charcoal or gas grill for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them slowly in between, until skin turns darker and shrinks.
- Broil: Cut eggplants lengthwise into halves and place the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on the second rack and broil until skin turns darker and shrinks, about 20 minutes.
- Stovetop: Peel the eggplants completely, only some stripes or leave the skin on if you don’t mind it. Cut the eggplants into small pieces. Steam on high heat until soft or cook in a pan with some water until soft and mushy.
- Easy Zaalouk: Combine all ingredients with ⅓ cup of water and cook it over stove top until softened. Mash it up well and drizzle olive oil.
- Peeled and deseeded tomatoes: If you prefer, you can blanch the tomatoes. Cut a small cross on the surface of tomatoes and dump them in hot boiling water. After a minute, pick out the tomatoes and peel the skin, cut them into halves and deseed. Chop them into small pieces.
- Use more tomatoes if you want the dip to be saucy. You may even try using a little bit of tomato paste to give it thickness.
- Leftovers: Can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze zaalouk for couple months. Thaw and reheat. Adjust the consistency, evaporating or adding water as needed. Check the seasoning as well.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For other variations, tips and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
Healthy Hot Chocolate with Walnut Milk
- 2 cups milk reduced fat or whole
- 4 tablespoons walnuts or 1½ tablespoons nut butter
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder dutch process, extra 1 tbsp if not using chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey, adjust to taste
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or bar, chopped, optional
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract or flavor of choice
- Whisk together the cocoa and about ¼ cup walnut milk in a saucepan at medium low heat till cocoa is dissolved (do not let it boil).
- Add the remaining walnut milk, maple syrup, salt and stir. Then add chocolate chips if you prefer. Heat it over medium setting, whisking as needed until it is hot (but not boiling).
- Add vanilla or any flavor of your choice. Top with hot foamed milk (using milk frother), cocoa powder or marshmallows.
- You may melt chocolate in a microwave before adding it into the milk.
- You may use nut butter instead of walnuts.
- If you use sweeter chocolate chips, then adjust sweetener as per taste.
- Prepare plenty of walnut milk. Add salt, sweetener and store it in the refrigerator. Use it to make hot chocolate anytime.
- Refrigerate leftover hot chocolate up to 3 days. Reheat at medium on the stove, without boiling.
This post was first published on May 6th 2016 and has been updated with improvements in recipe, formatting, tips, and additional enhancements.