A Bite Inspired by… Skiing:
Love hot chocolate, but craving something more exciting than just plain cocoa? Try my Spiced Hot Chocolate recipe inspired by skiing! This delicious drink combines the excitement of skiing with the warmth of sitting by the fire at the ski lodge. Guaranteed to warm you up through and through!
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So, guys. Exciting news! We just experienced the first snowflakes of the season last week! It was just a light dusting, but it got me SO excited for all the fun activities that snow has to offer. From building snowmen to sledding to snowball fights, it’s a special kind of fun that you can only experience a few months a year (where I come from, at least!) To me, the expiration date on the snowy season is part of what makes me love it so much. I know that come March, the snow will disappear and in its place will be the flowers of spring, so I have to enjoy snow to the fullest while I can. That’s the interesting thing about the seasons; they’re so ephemeral. The earth cycles from one season to the next, and each one is unique and brings new surprises.
Snow brings one surprise in particular that gets me extra excited: skiing! I absolutely love to ski. Now, my love of skiing is not to be confused with my being any GOOD at skiing. I’m not. In fact, I’m pretty lousy. I can barely make it down the smallest hills, let alone anything complicated. But, I still love it. Maybe because I only get to go once a year, so it’s extra special. Kind of like snow.
As much as I love actual skiing, my favorite part of any ski day is definitely warming up in the lodge afterwards with a cup of steaming hot chocolate and a roaring fire. I’m always frozen to the core after I ski. Mostly because I fall down so much that I’m pretty much soaked by the time we’re done for the day. Thankfully, nothing warms me up more on an icy day than hot chocolate. Actually, scratch that. Nothing warms me up more on an icy day than SPICED hot chocolate. That’s right. As if plain hot chocolate wasn’t comforting enough, enter chili powder, ground ginger, and a whole host of other delicious spices. It’s the ultimate comfort drink.
This vegan drink is as easy to make as it is delicious! I don’t really do the whole “cocoa powder thing” with my hot chocolate. Instead, I use an actual chocolate bar because it gives it a richer chocolate flavor. I generally use either a 56% or 60% chocolate bar in my hot chocolate. This kind of chocolate is dark enough to add full flavor, while still having some sweetness. This guarantees that my drink won’t be bitter and means I don’t have to add any additional sugar to it. Bonus!
I break the chocolate bar in half, place it on the bottom of two mugs, and pour the steaming hot spiced milk on top of it. I use unsweetened almond milk in mine, but you can choose any milk you want as long as it’s unsweetened. Soy milk, oat milk, hemp milk, regular milk, or whatever else you have lying around that suits your dietary and taste preferences is just fine. Also, if you don’t want the chocolate, you can just skip that part and make spiced milk. It’s delicious completely on it’s own with no chocolate added. You can also do the reverse and just follow the hot chocolate recipe without the spices. You do you!
It took a lot of experimentation and tasting to get the blend and balance of spices to be just perfect! I tried almost every viable spice in my pantry and had several taste testers help me along the way. I wanted flavors that are warm and a bit spicy. The chili powder and ground ginger give the drink a slight kick, while the cinnamon adds its own brand of deep warmth. If you don’t like spiciness as much you can reduce the amount of chili pepper or omit it, but it will still be slightly spicy from the other ingredients. I also added garam masala, a blend of several spices, including pepper, cloves, and cardamom. This surprise ingredient gives the hot chocolate that little bit of “je-ne-said-quoi” that makes it unique. They sell garam masala in most grocery stores, but if you’re having trouble finding it, you can get it here: Frontier Garam Masala Certified Organic, Salt Free Blend, 2-Ounce Bottle. Garam Masala blends can also vary slightly by brand. This is the exact brand that I used and I highly recommend it, although any brand is absolutely fine!
This drink is as exciting as skiing, but with the added warmth and comfort of the ski lodge. The best of both worlds! If you’re looking for even more heat, try this hot chocolate alongside pancakes topped with my Green Tea Cinnamon Syrup! The perfect skier’s breakfast! Enjoy this amazing hot chocolate any time of the year to add a little winter excitement to your life!
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or any other milk of your choosing)
- 3-ounce (56%) dark chocolate bar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Break chocolate bar in half. Place each half in a separate mug.
- Pour almond milk into a medium saucepan. Heat on medium until very hot, but not boiling.
- Remove from heat and immediately stir the spices into the the hot milk.
- Pour half of the hot milk on top of the chocolate in each mug. Stir each serving well until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!
56% dark chocolate generally does not contain any dairy, but individual products may vary so please be sure to check the ingredients on your chocolate bar carefully if you can’t eat dairy. Many chocolate bars may also contain a trace amount of dairy.