Spiced Hot Cocoa With Coconut Whipped Cream
Although the official first day of winter isn't until next Wednesday, the snow that's been teasing us in this upcoming weekend's forecast is causing me to hope it shows up little early. This past January, Nashville experienced snowfall like I'd never seen. Fluffy white snowflakes covered every single surface like a blanket, turning even the ugly construction zone across the street into a dreamy storybook scene. I was finally able to put to good use my Sorel snow boots that I impulsively purchased a couple of years ago, as we trekked around the neighborhood hunting for coffee, donuts, and steep hills.
I have fond memories of magical snow days as a kid. Sitting in the living room with my parents, intensely staring at the TV as the news displayed which county schools had been cancelled in a tiny strip at the bottom of the screen, anxiously hoping to see ours. Waking up to your parents telling you that school's been cancelled because it snowed during the night is probably one of my favorite feelings!
We'd make a big breakfast before getting ready to head outside to sled and build a snowman. And it never failed, when we'd come inside to warm up for a bit, my mom would always have hot chocolate ready. As deep as my love for coffee is, when it's numbingly cold outside and snow is falling, the only drink I crave is a large mug of hot cocoa.
Some of the best news that has most likely ever existed is that dark cocoa powder has quite a few health benefits! It contains:
- Antioxidants: reduces inflammation and helps prevent or delay diseases.
- Iron: this is essential for blood production, and helps your body properly transfer oxygen in your blood from your lungs to your tissues.
- Magnesium: needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Some of which include maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, supporting a healthy immune system, keeping our heart beat steady, and regulating our blood glucose levels.
- Manganese: supports bone strength.
- Zinc: supports proper immune function and digestive system, and can also help control diabetes.
Chocolate has also been shown to boost endorphins creating an increase in overall levels of happiness!
So I took our family classic, and added a few healthier (and spicier) twists to it! My version is dairy-free, but because I love whipped cream so much, I decided to top this off with a coconut cream version. I'm a pretty big fan of opposites when it comes to food. I love how perfectly a cold scoop of ice cream compliments a fresh out-of-the-oven pie, and the way the crunch of a grilled cheese goes so well with a creamy soup. This coconut whipped cream was so easy to make, and went perfectly with this hot chocolate.
I hope you'll have time this weekend to pour yourself a cup of hot cocoa, grab a blanket, pick out your favorite movie, and cozy up!