Updated: Nov 27, 2020
I know that the pumpkin spice latte gets all the acclaim for being the most popular seasonal drink, but I've never gotten onboard. Truth be told, I've never actually had a pumpkin spice latte, so I really shouldn't hate. I'm sure it's delicious.
The drink I get most excited about is the peppermint mocha! At some point in my 20's I ventured away from my typical Starbucks drink (very rare for me) and gave this festive, seasonal drink a try. I was hooked, and now every holiday season I crave it, even though I no longer drink coffee.
But you know me, I love figuring out ways to take an unhealthy, comforting food and revamp it so that it offers some health benefits, so that's just what I did!
This homemade peppermint mocha /peppermint hot cocoa recipe uses real dark chocolate and cacao. Really dark chocolate (70% cacao or more) and cacao both offer up a lot of antioxidants and vitamin B, supporting healthy energy levels and cell function. I also include coconut oil in the drink for some healthy fat to keep you full, and include dates for a real-food, fiber full, sweet option instead of regular sugar.
If you don't drink coffee, or your kids want to try it out, just omit the shot of espresso and enjoy a delicious peppermint hot cocoa. I typically enjoy this drink sans coffee myself, so I can attest to it being just as good!
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Peppermint Mocha Recipe w/ Peppermint Hot Cocoa Option
Makes about 1 serving, takes about 3 minutes.
1 tablespoon coconut oil or avocado oil
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or 3 squares of a dark chocolate bar (70% cacao or higher is the best)
1 1/2 tablespoons cacao (cocoa works too)
1 1/3 cup of milk of preference
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkle of sea salt
1/3 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 shot of espresso (omit if doing hot cocoa)
In a medium to small saucepan, warm the coconut oil over medium-low heat until melted. Add the dark chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add the cacao, milk, and dates and start whisking until it's all mixed without any clumps. Continue to heat until the milk starts to thicken, removing from heat just before it starts to boil.
Add the vanilla extract, salt, and peppermint extract to the pot and stir.
Carefully add the liquid to a blender and blend well until the dates are incorporated.
While the cocoa is blending, pull a shot of espresso from your espresso maker. (Skip if doing hot cocoa.)
Pour the espresso into the bottom of your coffee mug. Pour the cocoa mixture on top and stir. Drink, when it's not too hot!
Naturally gluten-free and vegan, depending on the type of milk and chocolate.