Cure the January Blues with the best hot chocolate recipe ever January 13, 2017

by Irene Ngo Our Recipes

If the post-holiday blues are setting in for you, rest assured that you’re not alone! Blue Monday is a name given to the third Monday of January and is considered to be the “most depressing day of the year.”

Rather than wallow in sorrow, we’re turning to some of our favourite mood-boosting foods. According to psychologists, avocados, walnuts, dark leafy greens and eggs are just some ingredients that can help improve our moods. In addition, warm milk and dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa) can also contribute to mood improvement. Chocolate is often considered a guilty pleasure, but recent studies show that eating dark chocolate may have some great health benefits: it’s high in iron and a powerful source of antioxidants and vitamins like potassium and magnesium (which may improve brain function, improve and lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.) Additional studies also show that eating small amounts of dark chocolate (which is high in an antioxidant called polyphenol) can increase feelings of calmness and contentedness.

We couldn’t be happier to hear this, because we think there’s nothing more soothing than drinking a cozy mug of hot chocolate by the fireplace in the winter! We’ve amped up a classic dark hot chocolate recipe with a dash of spice to warm you up (in more ways than one!) The key to making the most delicious hot chocolate is using high-quality dark chocolate (some of our faves include Green and Black’s Organic Chocolate and Soma Chocolate!)

Excuse us, we’re going to go whip up a batch of this liquid gold right now!

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The Best Hot Chocolate Ever
Prep 15 min
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
3 cups milk, preferably 3.25%
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
170 g pkg good-quality dark chocolate (at least 60%), broken into small pieces
pinch of Ancho chili powder or cayenne (optional)

Directions:
Combine the milk and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan and set over low heat. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat. Set aside and let the cinnamon stick steep in the warm milk for 10 min. Remove the cinnamon stick.

Return the saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in the chopped chocolate until it melts, 1-2 min. Add as much sugar as you like, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and chili powder, if desired. Divide between mugs and top with homemade marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired!

Substitution Tip: Lactose intolerant? You can still enjoy a cuppa by using lactose-free milk or almond milk!

Party Version: Add a dash of creme de cacao to make this hot chocolate recipe adult-friendly!

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