Healthy Hot Chocolate

One of my college friends is also named Lindsay and also departed a corporate insurance-selling lifestyle to pursue her culinary passions (I’m not the only one!).  Every few months, we’d have lunch together and daydream about making homemade pasta rather than scheduling conference calls under fluorescent lights.  In 2012, she started WeekNight Bite to teach people how to cook quick and healthy meals. 

She’s a holistic nutritionist, but, like me, Lindsay has a serious sweet tooth.  If you know how to navigate even just a few healthy ingredients, you can always satisfy a sweet craving with something that won’t spike your blood sugar or make it tough to button your favorite jeans.  Lindsay’s recipes and nutritional guidance strike a perfect balance of allowing space for the treats, while not overdoing it.

Recently I complained about how rainy and dreary it had been in San Francisco, so Lindsay shared this recipe which I love.  Why?  Because this sweet treat is made with coconut sugar and cacao, two ingredients we can feel great about consuming.  And I’m crazy about the coconut whipped cream.

Coconut Sugar:

Coconut sugar is extracted from the flower buds of palm trees and tastes a bit like a caramel-y brown sugar.  It’s an excellent substitute for white sugar (WHY? #1) because unlike white sugar, it’s unrefined and hasn’t been stripped of its nutrients (iron, zinc, calcium, potassium).  And thanks to a fiber called inulin, coconut sugar is absorbed more slowly, making you less likely to crash.


Cacao is the purest form of chocolate that exists.  It’s rich and chocolate-y but packed with magnesium, fiber, protein and antioxidants. 

So now, you can have your chocolate and drink it too!

This is Lindsay!!  (Photo by  Kristen Schellenberg )

This is Lindsay!!  (Photo by Kristen Schellenberg)

WeekNight Bite Recipe:  Healthy Hot Chocolate

Serves: 3


Hot Chocolate:

  • 3 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 5 tbsp cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Coconut Whipped Cream:

  • 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk - refrigerated overnight (WHY? #2)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Coconut Whipped Cream:

  1. Remove coconut milk from the fridge. Flip over. Open can and pour out the coconut water.   Scoop coconut cream into a bowl.
  2. Add vanilla extract .
  3. Using a stand mixer or hand beaters, whip the coconut cream on medium-high for about three minutes until soft peaks form. 

Hot Chocolate:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a saucepan. 
  2. Heat saucepan on the stove, over medium heat, whisking occasionally.
  3. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your preference.
  4. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or dark chocolate shavings.




Psst!  Some Recipe Notes:

Why? #1:  Substitute it where you could interchange brown for white sugar, with a 1:1 ratio.  It can be gritty so if you’re using it with liquids (like milk for example), let it dissolve for at least five minutes so it will behave more like white or traditional brown sugar.

Why? #2:  When the coconut milk is chilled, the water separates from the cream so you can scoop out and use only the thick creamy part.  If the water is mixed in,  you wouldn’t be able to whip it into whipped cream.

Note:  You may store any unused whipped coconut cream in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days. It will firm up a bit, but it can be re-whipped to make it fluffier.