As the days turn colder it’s wonderful to come home from an outdoors play session to a warm, creamy mug of hot chocolate.
There are a few moments when I see real benefits to being dairy free - and this hot chocolate is one of them. I wouldn’t have thought to experiment with making our own hot chocolate if we could just scoop some powder into a mug of warm milk, but this version is so much healthier and deliciously rich and creamy too.
It’s almost as quick and easy as the “from a tin” kind anyway. The recipe is really simple - some ripe bananas, raw cashew nuts, cocoa and water - that’s it. No added sugar or sweetener as the bananas bring plenty of sweetness (although you can add a bit of maple syrup or some marshmallows if you want a sweeter treat).
When heating this don’t be tempted to over-heat it and then let it cool. You are aiming to have it the perfect temperature for drinking right out of the microwave - if it gets too hot it starts to get too thick - and definitely don’t let it boil. If you forget and it does get too thick though, just add a bit more cold water and put it back in the blender for a minute.
You can adjust the cocoa to your taste. If you’re making this for younger kids then I recommend adding a relatively small amount initially, then after blending you can add a bit more into the adult and older kids’ mugs. That way you can avoid giving toddlers a caffeine rush they definitely don’t need!
Little Goat absolutely loves this hot chocolate - he asks for it whenever there’s so much as a cool breeze in the air. I love making it for us too as I know he’s getting a great source of iron - there are 6.7 mg of iron in 100 mg of cashew nuts - that’s more than double the iron in beef. The iron is non-heme iron, which means you need to have it with vitamin C to help your body to absorb it. Bananas are actually a decent source of vitamin C (a banana has about 15% of your RDA) - but if you can serve this alongside a satsuma then you’re definitely getting a well balanced snack.
Overall this is an easy snack that gets dairy free picky eaters a good dose of iron and potassium and is one they’ll ask for again and again.
Healthy, Dairy Free Hot Chocolate
Makes: 3 small mugs or 2 generous ones
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cooking time: 1 minute
2 very ripe bananas
½ c (60g) raw cashew nuts (unroasted, unsalted)
1-3 teaspoons of cocoa (I add 1 teaspoon into the mixture, then add an extra teaspoon or two into my mug)
1 cup + ~3 Tablespoons water (~300ml)
Put all the ingredients into a blender and process for a minimum of 2 minutes. The mixture should be completely smooth and creamy.
Pour this into 3 mugs and put into the microwave for 50 seconds
Check the temperature - depending on the strength of your microwave this should be about perfect for a toddler to drink
If you like yours a little hotter, stir and put back for another 10 seconds
Do not overheat the mixture and do not let it boil as it will become too thick (but see above for what to do if it does over-thicken)
If you are a forward planner you can soak the cashew nuts in the water for a few hours or overnight beforehand as this makes them blend more easily - but it’s not necessary if you have a strong blender / smoothie maker.