For vegans or the lactose-intolerant, few wintry drinks are as disappointing as hot chocolate. The drink is nearly all milk, plus it’s topped with whipped cream—more dairy—and marshmallows (fine for the lactose-free, but generally not vegan). While you may not be able to find vegan hot chocolate at your local cafe, the dairy-free drink is just as easy to make as the real deal. Head home, wrap yourself in a blanket, and grab that bottle of almond milk.
Pour two cups of your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond and cashew work nicely here) into a medium saucepan. Heat the milk over medium low.
Meanwhile, pour 3 tablespoons cocoa powder into a small bowl along with 2 tablespoons maple syrup or granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of fine sea salt. Pour ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk (from a can) into the bowl, and use a small whisk or a fork to combine.
Pour the cocoa-coconut mixture into the warm non-dairy milk and whisk the mixture together.
To make this hot chocolate completely irresistible to vegans and omnivores alike, add some more flavorings. Whisk 2 tablespoons tahini or your favorite creamy nut butter into the mixture, or try 1 teaspoon of orange zest or ½ teaspoon peppermint extract. Bourbon and red wine are also welcome additions.
Continue to heat the hot chocolate until it’s warmed through. Taste, and add more maple syrup or cocoa powder as needed.
Pour the drink into mugs, and, if you’d like top it with marshmallows (vegan or regular, drinker's choice) and a dollop of coconut whipped cream.