Skip the processed packets of hot cocoa and make your own at home with 3 simple ingredients. 3-Ingredient Homemade Hot Cocoa is warm, cozy, delicious, and completely dairy-free + naturally sweetened!
A year after I finished college and got married (yep, those two things happened the same year), Andrew and I moved to a small town in the middle of Washington state called Ellensburg.
We moved for Andrew’s first job as a professor at Central Washington University, and after finding myself in a small town with little to do, I quickly enrolled at CWU’s Master’s of special education program.
After I finished my degree I was hired by my department to teach graduate and under-graduate course as an instructor. The years I spent teaching college students and doing research alongside Andrew are among my fondest memories, as I loved both the enthusiasm of college students and the overall energy of working on a college campus.
The only downside of teaching, of course, was the loads and loads of grading to be completed at the end of each quarter. There’s nothing quite like staring down a mile-high stack of 30-page term papers to make you feel completely overwhelmed.
To combat the feeling of overwhelm, I came up with a fun tradition for the end of each quarter. Each day of fall quarter finals week I’d go to the local coffee shop and order an extra large hot cocoa. I’d then take the warm cocoa back to my office, sit down at my desk with my grading pen in hand, turn on Vince Guaraldi A Charlie Brown Christmas, and get down to the task at hand.
There was something about the combination of the cozy, warming hot cocoa and the holiday music that just made the entire experience so much more enjoyable. So much so, that I almost looked forward to it. Almost.
These days I don’t have any grading to do (I still miss those college kids, but not so much the grading), but I still look forward to the hot cocoa + Charlie Brown Christmas album each December.
And now I have Elle to join in the tradition, whose 4-year-old enthusiasm for all things chocolate breathes new life into the entire experience.
I know many people reach for the processed packets of hot cocoa when the weather gets cold and the holidays roll around. If you’ve previously been a packet person, though, I urge you to try this version.
It couldn’t be simpler to make, and it’s easy to keep the 3 ingredients on hand so you can make it any time. Making it yourself means that you can skip all the weird, processed ingredients and refined sugar that makes up the packets.
It also means a MUCH better tasting final product, which is just as important when it comes to hot cocoa.
This is a super fun recipe to make with kids, too, as they can pour and whisk the ingredients together in the pan prior to everything getting heated on the stovetop. I hope you’ll make this one soon, and enjoy a mug full of coziness this winter. Now, let’s make some 3-Ingredient Homemade Hot Cocoa!
RECIPE & KID-FRIENDLY ADAPTATIONS
1 | I like a good-tasting, unsweetened almond milk for this recipe, but feel free to use any type of milk you like and have on hand.
2 | Add extra flavor with a few teaspoons of vanilla or peppermint extract.
3 | If you want a sweeter hot cocoa, simply add more maple syrup.
THIS RECIPE IS . . .
Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Naturally Sweetened, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Paleo Friendly
3-Ingredient Homemade Hot Cocoa (Naturally Sweetened)
- 2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk (or any type of milk you prefer)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Whisk all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat until warm.
If you want a sweeter hot cocoa, simply add more maple syrup.
Swap ½ cup coconut milk (from a can) for ½ cup of the almond milk for a creamier version
Add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Add ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Serve with Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Coconut Cream