Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

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When the winter winds blow, there is nothing more comforting than curling up with a blanket and mug of creamy, steaming hot chocolate. But what about chilly chocolate lovers who adhere to a vegan diet? There's no need to despair, as delicious vegan hot chocolate recipes abound. Even better, the ingredients are items you probably already have stocked in your kitchen.

Vegan hot chocolate can be made with rice milk, almond milk or soy milk. You can try the recipe below with all three, and decide which is more to your liking. Other options include toppings and additions such as: Soy Whip (a whipped topping made with soy milk), carob chips, Kahlua, peppermint schnapps, cinnamon, vanilla, peppermint extract and crushed or whole candy canes (for stirring). If you really can't have hot chocolate without marshmallows, there are vegan varieties available through specialty Web sites and stores.

Here is one basic variation that won't disappoint:

Serves 2

2 cups of vanilla soy milk

2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons agave or sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons water

Directions:

1.  Heat milk on the stove at low-medium heat while stirring. Bring to a simmer.

2. Heat water in the microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes.

3. Dissolve cocoa powder, salt and agave or sugar into water.

4. Stir water mixture into soy milk

5. Add your own toppings and additions

So let Old Man Winter do his thing, knowing that comfort and warmth are as close as your next steaming cup of vegan hot chocolate. Whether you're relaxing at home by yourself in your pajamas, preparing a warm, festive beverage for a holiday party, or entertaining friends with a board game beside the fireplace, you can have a tasty vegan alternative to the classic, belly-warming mug of hot chocolate. You might even challenge your guests by not divulging that it is completely dairy free, and see if they even notice!

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