Hello, from down the years! I know, I know, I don’t update the site much these days (grad school and all), but I wanted to post a recipe I came up with in desperation the other night.

You see, I was fully sugar-free for more than a decade. Then I began to let sugar creep its evil way back in to my diet (Watermelon Margaritas anyone)? Now, I’m back on the righteous path of eliminating processed sugars and corn syrups. But that means going without some things I CRAVE.

This time of year, it’s so tough not to give in on so many goodies, but I think for me the hardest is hot chocolate. So last week I finally broke down and decided to try honey as a sweetener, with low expectations. I mean, come on! Honey is really distinctive tasting!

I was successful, however, and here are the fruits of my labor:

Ingredients:

  • enough whole milk for everyone who wants a mug (whole milk is sooooo much better for you than the low-fat stuff)

Per cup:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp mild honey
  • 1 tsp Mexican vanilla (or substitute 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp water)
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa

Directions:

  1. Warm the milk on the stove. Don’t let it burn or boil! Stir frequently.
  2. When the milk is warm, place the 1/2 to 3/4 tsp of honey in the bottom of each mug and microwave for a few seconds until the honey is very runny. I use the smallest amount because I like a “darker” cocoa.
  3. Add the other “per cup” ingredients to each mug and stir the living daylights out of it! This should make a smooth, liquidy chocolate syrup.
  4. Pour 8 to 10 ounces of hot milk into each mug, stir and enjoy!

Here are some suggested changes:

  • add a pinch of cinnamon to the mix with the cocoa. Just a pinch!
  • add a drop of red chile honey. Oh, mamacita! Just a delightful, barely there whisper of heat makes the hot cocoa so good! And be sure your red chile honey comes from New Mexico so it has the right flavor.
  • skip the cocoa altogether, but double the vanilla for “hot vanilla”, a favorite from my days running a b&b. Add half a pinch of nutmeg to the heated honey and vanilla and stir it in really well before adding the milk.

Enjoy guilt-free hot cocoa all winter long!

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