So making hot cocoa in the fall and winter are a long standing family tradition at our house. And what makes it the best? What could you possibly add to the rich creamy deliciousness of hot cocoa for those days when you just do not want to do much of anything? Its a secret ingredient that just might be growing in your back yard! What to know what it is? Want the Family recipe for it too?
Chicolate Mint Mentha x piperita~ This wonderful little plant is one of the garden treasures at Mountain Song Herbals. Chocolate mint is a beautiful mint cross between wintermint and spearmint With the all the history of the mints, this is one of the special herbs in our tea blends as you will not easily find anywhere else, unless you grow your own in the garden; which by the way we highly suggest doing. You can taste this wonderful herb in either our Blue Fairy tea which is caffeine free or you can check out one of our new additions Irish Morning Green Tea which is made of a gunpowder green tea chocolate mint and peppermint.
Chocolate mint is great by itself for a fresh nibble in the heat of the day, to freshen up your breath, add a little pep to your favorite meal, or drink for a cooling and relaxing tea all by itself. If you are making fresh tea just cut a handful of the plant, stem and all, place the cutting into a jar and pour hot water over the herb. Let the tea sit for a few minutes and you will have an amazing beverage that can be strained and placed in the fridge for cold tea or to drink hot.
This is a very easy plant to propagate both from see and from cuttings, it takes a bit longer to take over an area then other mints do so give it a little room where ever you plant (it will take over an area so be mindful of where you put it). Given a little space chocolate mint will grow lush and strong. Best part is if it grows over into the grass its ok, mow it down with your grass and enjoy a pleasant refreshing aroma while you work. Can you tell we really love this little plant.
Enjoy this video on Chocolate mint and get your stock up because once you taste the difference you will have a hard time going back.
Here is a simple vegan hot coco recipe that you can easily replace the water with which ever milk you wish.
Chocolate Mint Hot Cocoa (makes 1 cup) VEGAN!
~2 tablespoons dairy free hot coco mix(we like the certified organic Ah!laska non dairy hot cocoa)
~ 1 good sprig of fresh chocolate mint leaves or 1 teaspoon dried chocolate mint leaves
~ 8 oz non dairy liquid. We like plain old fresh water or home made almond mild or even some organic coconut ( from the can not the milk you would put on your cereal.)
~ sauce pan for heating up your liquid.
~ optional marshmallows (the vegan ones have never gone over well at our house but give it a whirl if you want)
~ optional chocolate syrup for a thick creamy addition that the kids love to add themselves(we like the ah!laska brand for this too.) If you want to make your own see topping recipe below the cocoa recipe.
- Place water/non-dairy milk in a sauce pan, place on stove and turn to medium heat.
- When water starts to steam with little bubbles in the bottom of the pan add chocolate mint (pluck one leaf for a garnish and set aside) let mixture cook for 30 seconds. (Note- if you are using creamy coconut milk it will get bubbly faster so be mindful and stir the liquid a little bit)
- Turn off heat and add coco mix and stir until dissolved.
- Pour into mugs, drizzle chocolate syrup or add marshmallows or both . add the mint leaf on top and serve warm.
If you want to make your own chocolate syrup-
~ 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips(we like the Enjoy Life mini)
~ about 2 tlb coconut oil
- in a double boiler (a bowel over the top of a sauce pan with water in the bottom of it.) melt the chocolate and coconut oil together. you can add more coconut oil to the blend if it is to thick for you.
- when fully melted drizzle over the top of the hot coco that you have in your mug.
Bonus tip– in a oven set for the lowest setting place good earthen mugs on a cookie sheet and place in oven while you make your hot cocoa. Do not let them get hot but just warm so that your cocoa stays warm longer and you have a nice hand warmer while you enjoy your hot cocoa.