Technically, hot chocolate contains actual chocolate, which is made with sugar. Traditionally, hot cocoa is made only with cocoa and not chocolate.
Photo by Yuri Arcurs
The marriage of peppermint and chocolate is a cold-weather favorite. MAKES 1 TO 2 SERVINGS OF PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE.
• 1 cup water
• 1⁄4 cup dried peppermint OR 1/2 cup fresh peppermint leaves, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)
• 2 tablespoons honey OR agave nectar, to taste
• 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (preferably fair-trade)
• 1 tablespoon naturally sweetened chocolate chips (optional)
• 1 cup unsweetened soymilk OR water
1. In a small saucepan, boil water, peppermint, optional peppermint extract and sweetener. Remove from heat and steep for 5 or more minutes. Strain with a fine-mesh strainer. Reserve.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine mint mixture, cocoa, optional chips and soymilk (or water). Stir constantly over medium heat until you have a smooth, velvety texture.
3. Serve warm in mugs or demitasse cups.
Fresh tip: If you’re lucky enough to have fresh peppermint leaves in the late fall and winter, be sure to use them in this warming drink recipe. In the summer, this drink is terrific served chilled.
Letitia L. Star is a freelance writer and recipe developer who frequently contributes to The Herb Companion.
Click here for the main article, Warm Up with Winter Drinks.