Snow, snow, snow- and now my friends are talking about sunshine and spring and getting away for at least a couple of weeks this winter. For me, well, yes, i can dream about that too- but, also for me, winter is the only time of the year that I cuddle into the couch and watch the winter birds gather round the bird feeder while I over indulge in hot chocolate. In other words, this is luxurious to me, to laze about and sip a velvety rich hot chocolate.
I thought that the best hot chocolate was a simple deep and flavorful chocolate, dark or milk, or even with a touch of cinnamon, like a Mexican Hot Chocolate- but I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed the floral and heady notes of the Lavender Hot Chocolate that I enjoyed at French Broad Chocolates in Asheville. It was a creamy rich cup, almost too rich for my tastes, but delicious and complex and I could hardly stop sipping it. After that day, I was determined to make a lighter andhealthier version of this wonderfully sinful decadent cup ofhot chocolate. Something that I could savor multiple times a week throughout the winter. Guilt free.
I'm a believer in the health benefits of chocolate, so having a small square of dark chocolate is something that I might have every day anyway. It satisfies my sweet tooth and it makes my heart grow big and strong! So, good quality chocolate is essential in this recipe. I used Ghiradelli's semi-sweet bar premium baking chocolate - but, you could use bittersweet, depending on your tastes, or some other brand of good quality chocolate. I also used Hershey's Natural Unsweetened Cocoa and I highly recommend this baker's friendly cocoa. I've taste tested alot of cocoa- and I can honestly say that this chocolate is deep with flavor. It makes a great hot chocolate! And so price friendly! We've got some other great choices for chocolate available here in Traverse City; Grocers Daughters Chocolate to name one but of course there are all sorts of wonderful choices at Oryana.
It's important to use quality organic herbs when making a simple syrup. You simply do not want to add any chemicals to your concoction. For my lavender, I used my very own homegrown. My garden is totally free of sprays and herbicides, so I know that my simple syrup won't have some funky lawn care aftertaste.
Here's the delicious and easy recipe for imitation French Broad Chocolates' Lavender Hot Chocolate! Using coconut almond milk in place of cow's milk, lends a creamy thickness to the hot chocolate that is low in calories, but mimics the creamy texture of French Broad's Lavender Hot Chocolate very nicely. Do not boil the almond coconut milk on the stove, as that breaks down the emulsifiers in the milk and the creamy consistency will be lost.
Lavender Hot Chocolate
Lavender Simple Syrup
- 1/4 cup Organic Pure Cane Sugar
- 3 TBSP lavender buds
- 1/2 cup water
Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and discard the solids.
- 6 ounces unsweetened coconut almond milk or straight coconut milk or any other favorite non cow's milk milk
- 1/2 ounce semi sweet chocolate bar (1 square of Ghiradelli's bar)
- 2 TBSP Hershey's Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
Mix the cocoa into the coconut almond milk in a microwave safe mug, stirring to partly blend ingredients. Microwave the milk and the cocoa to reach a comfortably hot temperature. Remove from the microwave and drop the semisweet chocolate piece into the hot chocolate. Mix to blend the ingredients completely. Add 1-2 TBSP lavender syrup to the hot cocoa. Add marshmallow to taste. Find a warm place in the house to snuggle, preferably near a fireplace. Enjoy!