Hot chocolate with stress relief benefits and a hint of peppermint. A cozy adaptogen filled beverage.
There are times in winter when the dessert I want is hot chocolate. I will pass on cake or cookies but if I'm craving something sweet, hot chocolate is a pretty solid bet. Comforting and warm, hot chocolate is something to savor over time. After our first few hot chocolates of the season these past few weeks and a look into our pantry and freezer, I thought there might be a way to boost this recipe and clean out the cupboards at the same time. Spoiler alert: there is.
When Chris and I photograph or video recipes for clients as part of our content creation business, we accrue some interesting ingredients. Admittedly, there are times said ingredients sit untouched for weeks or months, or are never used at all. After a total freezer clean out necessitated by a client popsicle recipe, I found some maca powder nestled in what has become the designated 'smoothie mix in shelf'. Maca is an adaptogen powder that is a member of the cruciferous family (think broccoli) and is grown in the Andes mountains. Visually, it's a tan powder and it smells like nothing, perfect for hiding in hot chocolate.
Adaptogens are a huge trend in the food and nutrition world right now. To generalize, adaptogens are plant based foods/supplements that regulate physiological processes. Many adaptogens boast stress reduction properties and YES, there are clinical studies out there. I have personally fallen in love with ashwagandha (this is what I buy) and have felt a major difference in my stress levels when taking it. Like all supplements I encourage you to do your research: look for high quality, and only take it if it works with your medical history and you can FEEL a difference. Don't waste your money if it doesn't work for your body.
Now maca does offer benefits in terms of stress relief as well as energy enhancement, but historically it's been used as an aphrodisiac. It's an ingredient in the high end Moon Juice's 'sex dust' supplement. And because sex sells in terms of marketing, that's the headline that usually clicks for people.
For this recipe methodology is important.You want the powder to dissolve completely or you're going to be left with chunks of powdered maca throughout your drink or a ton of silt at the bottom. For hot chocolate in general, I like to stir a few times throughout drinking to avoid this period, but I would definitely recommend it for this since we're working two powders into the base. After heating a small amount of milk, you'll whisk in the hot chocolate and maca completely. Then we'll add frothed milk on top, and gently stir it to combine.
Peppermint Adaptogen Hot Chocolate
/// Ingredients ///
- 2 cups skim milk
- 2 Tablespoons hot chocolate mix of choice (we use Starbucks or Ghirardelli because they don't use sugar substitutes)
- 1 teaspoon maca powder or adaptogen powder of choice (eg ashwagandha)
- 1/8 teaspoon or a few small drops peppermint extract
- fresh mint garnish
/// Directions ///
Add 1/2 cup skim milk to a liquid measuring cup and microwave until hot. Whisk in hot chocolate powder and maca powder until completely combined. Drop in peppermint extract and stir to combine. Heat and froth remaining milk using a milk frother or frother attachment to an espresso machine. Pour half of the chocolate mixture in each mug and pour in frothed milk to each. Stir gently to combine. Top with additional foam and fresh mint.
Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.