It's technically still summer, but the tide has turned on the season. Kids are in school and the air has taken on that magical fall quality. The mornings are cooler, which means that it's a perfect time to switch back to hot beverages if you've been icing your coffee/tea or freezing your hot chocolate all summer.
I need to tell you that while I am not vegan or gluten-free, this hot chocolate is both of those things (well, unless you add honey as an optional sweetener) and it is freaking amazing. It's so incredibly creamy that you won't believe it doesn't contain cream or even ice cream! And the coconut flavor isn't over the top; it's just enough.
Say hello to your new favorite beverage/dessert all in one.
Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate
Makes two - printable version here
For the toasted coconut glass rims and garnish
- ⅓ cup toasted coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened is fine)
- 1 teaspoon thick maple syrup
For the coconut milk hot chocolate
- 15 ounces (1 can) coconut milk
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract (see recipe notes)
- 1 bar (3.5 ounces) good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Sugar, to taste
Prepare your mugs for the hot chocolate. Place your toasted coconut in a thin layer on top of a shallow plate. Brush the top rims of two mugs with thick maple syrup. Turn the mugs over and dip the sticky rims in the coconut mixture; bits of coconut will cling to the rim of the glass for a pretty presentation. You won’t use all of the coconut; reserve the rest for garnish.
In a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan, combine the coconut milk and salt.
Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Stir the mixture constantly, to keep the chocolate from scorching. It should melt rather quickly, transforming the coconut milk mixture into a rich, chocolatey mixture.
Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the coconut or vanilla extract. Stir lightly to incorporate. Give the mixture a taste. If you’d like it more sweet, add sugar (or honey, or maple syrup) to taste, and continue simmering the mixture until the sugar dissolves. If the mixture is sweet enough as-is, remove from heat after adding the extract.
Divide the hot chocolate between two mugs; garnish with the reserved toasted coconut. Enjoy while still hot.
This recipe calls for coconut milk, not coconut water. Don’t use coconut water; it simply won’t be the same!
If coconut is not your thing, you can substitute regular milk, or any other non-dairy milk substitute.
Which extract should you use? You can employ vanilla extract for a well-rounded flavor, or if you like your hot chocolate extra coconutty, use coconut extract.