The holiday season calls for classic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate, alongside the support of herbal adaptogens, such as tulsi and ashwagandha, to not only give you the comforts of the season but to support healthy stress levels at the same time.
While many of us are familiar with the benefits of cacao and adaptogens, did you know that vanilla is more than just a yummy flavor? It’s true! ? Vanilla not only contains antioxidants, modulates inflammation, and is believed to be a neuroprotectant, but it also satiates your sweet tooth!
So the next time you’re craving something sweet but healthy this season, why not give this healthy, homemade, herbal hot cocoa this year?
Herbal Adaptogen Vanilla Hot Cocoa
- 9 cups water
- 3 cups raw milk (or milk alternative)
- 1/2 cup cacao (Theobroma cacao) powder
- 1/2 cup cacao (Theobroma cacao) nibs (optional – double cacao powder if omitting cacao nibs)
- 1 tbsp tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) aerial parts
- 1 tbsp ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root powder
- 1-2 tbsp vanilla bean paste (to taste)
- 1/2-1 cup maple syrup (to taste)
- Heat water and cacao nibs in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the water begins to boil, turn the heat off, add cacao powder, and mix well. Cover with a lid and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to extract a good bit of the volatile oils from the cacao nibs. *If you don’t enjoy bits of cacao nibs in your cocoa, skip the nibs altogether and double the cacao powder.
- While water is coming to temperature, heat milk in a separate saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the milk begins to simmer, remove it from the heat, and add tulsi and ashwagandha. Mix well, cover with a lid, and allow to steep for 10 minutes before straining herbs from milk using a fine-mesh sieve. Compost the herbs.
- Transfer strained herb-infused milk to the chocolate water. Add vanilla bean paste and 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Blend with an immersion blender (or transfer to a high-speed blender) to chop cacao nibs into tiny pieces and froth milk. Taste for sweetness and flavor, and add more vanilla bean paste and maple syrup if needed.
- Fill a cup with vanilla hot cocoa, top with homemade vanilla whipped cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon or homemade vanilla marshmallows, and enjoy a cup or two with a good book or a good friend!
Love and light,