Fall and winter may be my favorite hiking season of all. The crowds are gone thanks to the cooler temps, promise of mud, and the kiddos being back in school. You don’t have to wake up as early for a sunrise or stay out as late for the sunset. All you need are warm clothes and an adventurous spirit.
On late season hikes, I like to bring along a warm beverage to keep the shivers at bay when we stop to enjoy the view or eat a snack. For me, that beverage is hot chocolate.
My family is from Latin America and Spain where hot chocolate means melting dark chocolate in milk. It’s rich and creamy and absolutely heavenly. I have created three easy vegan recipes for you to bring along on your next winter hike.
Just make them at home before you leave and pour them into an Insulated TKPro Thermal Klean Kanteen bottle and your delicious treat will be ready for you to indulge when you’re ready.
South American Style Hot Chocolate + Mint Addition
This easy as can be recipe serves as the base for both the basic hot chocolate and the mint version. My dad learned of this method after a trip to Ecuador where we sipped on some of the best hot chocolate in our lives. He quietly went into the shop and asked if they would share how they make their hot chocolate. Luckily for all of us, they were happy to divulge.
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped chocolate bar, or couverture (check to ensure vegan chocolate)
- 2 cups of dairy free milk of choice (my personal favorites are almond milk, coconut milk , and hemp milk)
- Add the chocolate and enough milk to just barely cover the chocolate into the pan. You’ll want to see the chocolate poking through the milk, but it doesn’t need to be fully submerged. See photo for guidance.
- Turn the burner to medium heat and stand by with a whisk. The milk will boil quickly and you don’t want it to burn. Once the milk starts to simmer, stir the chocolate until it is fully melted.
- Add the remaining milk to the pan, bring to a low boil, and stir frequently. Once the milk has heated through, remove from the burner and add to your TKPro.
Mint version: Just add 1/2 to 1 tsp of mint extract to taste.
Other additions: Vegan Marshmallow (like Dandies), a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor, vanilla extract.
Golden Milk Hot Chocolate
I have another South American country to thank for this creation. This time it’s Peru. During a visit to Lima, I ate at a vegan restaurant called La Verde where they served incredible vegan food, including desserts and fun beverages. Having discovered golden milk not long before, when I saw a golden milk hot chocolate available on the menu, I didn’t give it a second thought. The idea to pair turmeric and chocolate never occured to me before, but the combination works together perfectly
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- pinch of cayenne
- 2 cups plant-based milk of choice
- 1-2 Tbsp liquid sweetener such as maple syrup or agave to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Add all of the spices to the pot along with 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Stir together to create a paste or thick liquid here. This is to just make sure the powders don’t get lumpy once you add all of the milk.
- Add the remaining milk and stir to mix in the paste.
- Turn the burner to medium heat and whisk frequently. You want the milk to stay just under boiling point. It will start to foam, so keep an eye on it and turn the heat down if it rises to boil over. This can happen quickly, so don’t turn your eyes away from it!
- Allow to simmer/foam for 5-7 minutes until it reaches your preferred drinking temperature.
- Stir in the vanilla and sweetener and pour into your TKPro.