For chocolate lovers, very few things compare to snapping open a raw cacao bean, rubbing it between your palms to crumble your own cacao nibs, and taking a deep inhale. If you’ve never tried raw cacao (pronounced “kah-cow”), you might be in for a bit of a surprise.
Unlike overly sweet and highly processed milk chocolate, raw cacao beans and nibs have a complex chocolate flavor sans sweetness. Raw cacao doesn't smell like a chocolate bar and is often described as being slightly bitter, earthy, woody, and even astringent on the palate. All of those flavors make raw cacao a great canvas to build rich chocolate creations from scratch. I love adding cacao nibs to smoothies, trail mix, chia seed pudding, and, of course, as a base for a mug of warm and cozy hot chocolate.
If you're looking to make something really special from scratch, try out the latest food craze ... mushroom hot chocolate. By adding dried mushrooms to your homemade hot chocolate, you can recreate this trendy (and healthful) beverage without breaking the bank. Just make sure your mushrooms are sustainably harvested, as there are mushrooms on the market that aren't consciously collected.
Yields three large mugs.
- 2 oz. organic whole cacao beans
- 5 organic whole bird’s eye chilis
- 4 organic sweet cinnamon sticks
- 2 organic whole star anise pods
- 4 cups milk or your favorite alternative "mylk"
- 6 organic reishi slices
- 1 tsp. organic vanilla powder
- 1/2 tsp. organic nutmeg powder
- Large tea ball infuser, 4-inch tea net, or cheesecloth
- Break cacao beans in half and rub between your palms to create cacao nibs and hulls.
- Add cacao nibs and hulls, chilis, cinnamon sticks, and star anise to tea infuser or cheesecloth bundle.
- Add milk, reishi slices, tea infuser, nutmeg powder, and vanilla powder to a medium pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.
- Let gently simmer for 30 minutes.
- Strain tea infuser and remove reishi slices.
- Ladle into your favorite mug and serve immediately.
Yields one small mug.
- 1 cup milk or your favorite alternative "mylk"
- 1 Tbsp. organic roasted cacao powder
- 2 tsp. of organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (optional)
- 1 tsp. organic cordyceps mushroom powder or wildharvested chaga mushroom powder
- 1/8 tsp. organic vanilla powder
- Bring milk to a boil.
- Turn heat down to low.
- Whisk ingredients until combined and slightly frothy.
- Pour into your favorite mug and serve immediately.
This mix can be scaled up to create a few mugs at a time, or make a big batch to package in jars or tins as gifts. When making a cup from a large batch of mix, add two tablespoons of this mix to a cup of milk.
Looking for more Herbal Mushroom Recipes?