In the McDaniel house, hot cocoa is a must-have during the cold fall and winter months we have to endure here in the mid-West. Before going almost completely plant-based, I usually bought boxes of individual instant cocoa mix and just lived with the fact it was made with powdered cow's milk. Occasionally, I bought a box of powdered milk and made my own mix but it never turned out like I wanted it too. You had to use almost half a cup of the mix per 6-8 ounces of hot water to get a chocolatey flavor and then there were these weird lumps of powdered milk that would never dissolve.
Trying to come up with a plant-based instant hot cocoa mix was not much more successful, either. I just couldn't find any recipe that actually dissolved whether I mixed it with water or milk. I found one recipe that made a sort of hard chocolate that you could melt into hot milk but it had an oily residue I didn't care for and again, the it didn't completely dissolve.
Then I found rice milk powder. I started buying this as an alternative for my older daughter who complains of an itcy mouth when she drinks soy or almond milk. She's okay with cashew milk but my husband and younger daughter aren't crazy about it. So I bought rice milk powder to have on hand when my older child wanted milk.
I decided to give an vegan instant hot cocoa mix one more shot using vanilla rice milk powder, dark cocoa and some coconut sugar. I chose coconut sugar because I like the almost caramel-like taste and the fact that it's very fine in texture. I figured it would blend and dissolve nicely.
The first attempt tasted incredibly good but was still a bit grainy. Then I had a hot cocoa mix epiphany! I dumped the mix into my food processor and blended it for just a short time to get it to a super fine texture. You have to be careful here as coconut sugar gets a funky taste if it's exposed to the heat from the processor for too long. But about 15 seconds resulted in exactly what I was looking for!
This cocoa mix can be mixed with boiling water or steamed non-dairy milk. It's rich, creamy and chocolatey and completely plant-based!
Vegan Hot Cocoa Mix