What do you get when you combine a dairy-free truffle mixture and hot coconut milk? You get the world’s best dairy-free hot chocolate! And, seriously, no one would guess that it’s dairy-free. No one! In fact, I’ve shared this with dairy-loving friends and they all raved about it!
Hot Chocolate vs. Hot Cocoa: Which Team Are You On?
We need to discuss something. It’s serious*. And very important*. The difference between “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa.” Yes. There’s a difference.
*If you love chocolate.
Hot chocolate: made by combining chocolate with hot milk or cream.
Hot cocoa: made by combining cocoa powder with hot milk or cream.
Is one better than the other? Not really. I mean, I don’t drink either on a regular basis. So when I sit down for a cup of hot chocolate, I want hot chocolate. But, I have to admit, there’s something nice about a cup of hot cocoa with a homemade marshmallow bobbing around in it. Basically, if you offered me one or the other, I wouldn’t turn you down.
Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate: The Work is Worth the Reward
Today, though, we’re leaving the cocoa powder alone! We’re going to make the world’s richest dairy-free hot chocolate. And it all begins with a ganache.
Ah, ganache! How I love thee. If you aren’t familiar with the term, let me introduce you to this chocolate delight. A mixture of chocolate and cream (or in our case, coconut milk.), ganache can be used to make everything from truffles to whipped chocolate icing. Today it takes a staring role in hot chocolate.
You might be wondering why I use ganache in my hot chocolate instead of just stirring chocolate into hot coconut milk. When I’m in the mood for a mug of hot chocolate, I don’t want to futz with making a big pot of it. But it’s hard to make a just one serving of true hot chocolate. So what’s a hot chocolate lover to do?
Answer: make hot chocolate balls!
If you make a small batch of ganache and scoop it into balls, you can make hot chocolate whenever the mood strikes. Great, right?
It’s easy to make a dairy-free ganache. You bring full-fat coconut milk to a boil, add some dairy-free chocolate, and stir. In a minute or two the mixture turns dark and shiny. After the ganache chills for a few hours, scoop it into balls. Then put those hot chocolate balls in a freezer bag. When you crave hot chocolate, grab a hot chocolate ball, plop it into a glass of hot coconut milk and stir. That’s in! In only a minute or two, you’ll be enjoying the richest hot chocolate EVER.
How easy is that?
Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate: Variations
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Add a drop or two of pure peppermint oil to the warm ganache.
- Less Rich Hot Chocolate: Use low-fat coconut milk when making the hot chocolate. (Don’t use low-fat coconut milk for the ganache. It won’t work.)
- Hot Chocolate for a Crowd: Heat a hot of coconut milk and add one hot chocolate ball per person to the pot. Whisk until the hot chocolate balls melt completely.
Paleo Hot Chocolate (aka The World's Richest Hot Chocolate.)
- 8 ounces coconut milk full fat or low fat, whisked smooth
- 1 hot chocolate ball see recipe below.
- Heat coconut milk until warm. (I often do this in the microwave in a 2-cup measuring cup.) Add the hot chocolate ball. Stir. Heat until chocolate ball melts. Enjoy!
Paleo Hot Chocolate Base
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, whisked until smooth (or heavy cream if you aren't dairy-free) (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 1 1/3 cups dairy-free chocolate chips (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- Heat the coconut milk over medium heat in a small heavy bottomed pot. When it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the chocolate melt. You want the mixture to be nice and shiny.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into a square baking pan. Allow to cool on the counter for about 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. (Press the plastic wrap right onto the surface of the chocolate mixture.) Chill for three hours or overnight.
- Scoop mixture into balls, about three tablespoons each. Place the hot chocolate balls into a freezer bag and freeze until ready to use.
- Use as directed above.