Couples Hazelnut Hot Cocoa (dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free)

On those days when you’re apt to sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside…”, enjoy this hot, health-promoting beverage to heat your insides from head to toe! It’s rich, creamy cocoa with a hint of the hazelnut flavour that made Nutella famous and perfectly sized for you and a loved one.

Here are a few reasons to love this whole foods hot cocoa:

Hazelnut Hot Cocoa

  • It’s deliciously creamy! The creaminess comes from a full avocado, which offers monounsaturated fat that the body can easily use for energy. This is one kind of healthy fat we can all do more to enjoy more of. Avocados have even more potassium than bananas (1 cup, cubed or about 150 g has about 730 g, compared to about 530 g for the same amount of bananas). They also offer fibre, B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin E. Avocados also make a terrific “first food” for babes and a brain-supporting food for seniors.
Avocadoes
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If that wasn’t enough, avocados are on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15” list so you don’t have to stress as much about buying organically grown versions of this superfood. You can save some moolah! Many experts believe that the avocado’s thick peel protects conventionally grown versions of this fruit from many nasty pesticides.

 

  • Like avocados, hazelnuts also offer vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E helps protect our body’s cells from free radical damage, which can speed up aging, cognitive decline and vision loss. Vitamin E deficiency can lead to eye disorders and contribute to various types of cancer, among other conditions.

Good to know: The digestive tract needs some fat to be present to properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins, which interestingly enough, both avocados and hazelnuts provide. Wooohoo! This is just another example of nature growing whole, perfect foods that contain all the ingredients our bodies need for healthy aging, healthy weight loss, healthy stress management and overall health.

 

      • Dates offer sweetness as a whole food, as well as fibre to keep your bowels moving along like a well-oiled machine. They also offer iron, potassium, vitamin B6 and magnesium.

 

Here’s how to make my Couples Hazelnut Hot Cocoa:

Couples Hazelnut Hot Cocoa

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole preferably raw hazelnuts
  • 8 large honey dates
  • 2 ½ cups boiling or lukewarm water use lukewarm if you don't have a steam venting blender
  • 3 Tb raw cacao
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 medium avocado
  • Optional: 1-3 tsp maple syrup or to taste
  • Optional toppings: cocoa nibs or cocoa to dust on top

Instructions

  1. Blend the hazelnuts, honey dates and water in a high-powered blender until smooth. Then, using a very fine mesh strainer or a nut bag (my preference), strain the remaining milk into a clean container. Retain the nut pulp for another use (like my Baked Oatmeal with Caramelized Pears and Cranberries, a modified version of my favourite fruit crumble or any other recipe where nut pulp could be used).
  2. Add the nut milk back to the blender, along with the sea salt, cacao and avocado, and blend until smooth. If using boiling water, be sure to use a blender that steam vents (like a Vitamix) so the heat can escape and you don’t accidentally burn yourself. If you don’t have steam vents on your blender, just blend the ingredients and then heat gently on the stove. Add maple syrup to taste if you like and serve warm or hot.
  3. ALTERNATIVE: If you don’t mind a grittier, more textured hot cocoa, simply blend all ingredients together (except for the optional ingredients), add maple syrup to taste if desired, and serve warm or hot!

 

This is the perfect drink to sip on the couch with your sweetie while you watch the snow fall… and fall… and fall.

So skip that packaged cocoa C-R-A-P (high-fructose corn syrup marshmallows anyone? I think I’ll pass) and make this instead. Just blend, strain, blend and sip and you’ll be feeling cozy and warm again before you know it!

Might even be enough to get you off the couch and shovelling the snow off the front steps! “Ah, but it’s cold outside…” (Or not…)

Life is a plate… Eat up!

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