This time of year, I am all about the familiar comforting flavors of the holiday season. Gingerbread, cinnamon rolls, egg nog and of course, chocolate and peppermint, etc. The Starbucks Peppermint Mocha used to be one of my favs, but I just really don’t love all of those sugary syrups and other junk, plus since I prefer to avoid dairy, my only option there is soy milk, which I really don’t like drinking, either. That said, those flavors are the perfect way to get me in the holiday mood. We have been known to go out of our way to get peppermint mochas, just to sip on while we pick out our tree or check out the holiday lights. It’s holiday perfection in a cup!
Though I am not a regular coffee drinker these days, I do enjoy a cup of joe – now and again. It’s a nice treat once in a while, but I love not being a slave to the caffeine like so many regular coffee drinkers. I only drink it when it sounds good, not because I have to. I find I enjoy coffee and coffee drinks so much more since I tend to indulge only about once a month or so.
This holiday season, I was determined to recreate the classic Peppermint Mocha, so that I could enjoy it guilt-free. Dairy-free, refined sugar-free, made with high-quality ingredients! I am super happy with my homemade version, I like it better than any that could come in a cardboard cup with snowflakes on it. It’s thick and creamy, rich in chocolatey goodness and it has just the right amount of peppermint flavor.
I have several options for many of the ingredients, so if you wish to make this vegan or if you have an espresso maker and so on. Oh and if you just want a peppermint hot cocoa, leave out the coffee! Done!
What are some of your favorite classic holiday flavors combos?
[print_this]Dairy-free Peppermint Mocha or Hot Cocoa (Gluten-free with Vegan Option)
makes 2 servings
- 1 cup full fat organic coconut milk, the canned kind
- 1 1/2 cups homemade vanilla almond milk (unsweetened or very lightly sweetened)
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder OR regular baking cocoa
- 3 tablespoons raw local honey OR maple syrup – you could also use coconut sugar or other granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup bittersweet dairy-free chocolate chips, chopped dark chocolate OR unsweetened bakers chocolate
- 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons instant organic coffee OR a double shot of espresso*
- 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (you may want a tad more depending how strong you like it) OR a few drops of food grade peppermint essential oil
- pinch of sea salt
whipped coconut cream or other whipped topping of your choice
crushed candy canes
dark chocolate shavings
* you can also use 1/2 cup of strongly brewed coffee. Reduce the almond milk down to 1 cup instead of 1 1/2 cups – if using brewed espresso or coffee. Leave off to simply make a peppermint hot cocoa drink.
Add the coconut milk and almond milk to a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the pinch of sea salt and sift the cacao powder in, to avoid any clumps. Whisk to combine and add in the honey and chocolate chips. Bring the mixture to a very gentle boil. Stirring often so it doesn’t stick and to make sure it is well combined. Once the chocolate is melted, add in the instant coffee or brewed espresso. Stir well to combine. Give a quick taste and adjust your sweetness/coffee flavor, as necessary.
Turn off the heat and add the peppermint extract. You may want more than the 1/2 teaspoon, depending on how strong you like it, but that’s a good starting point. Ladle into two mugs and top with some whipped coconut cream, crushed candy canes and some dark chocolate shavings.
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