Adaptogen Hot Chocolate

March 30, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Amy Chaplin
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • makes 5 servings of hot chocolate mix and 4 servings of almond-coconut milk
Author Notes

Rich, creamy, and satisfying, this hot chocolate will change your mind about medicinal roots and mushrooms; it may even have you looking forward to a daily hot chocolate ritual. Instead of masking the earthy, nutty, and pungent flavors of adaptogens, this drink embraces them with just enough natural sweetness to feel like a treat. Besides that, it’s a great way to start for those of you who are adaptogen-curious.

Adaptogens are non-toxic roots, herbs, or fungi that enhance the body’s adaptive response to stress. They help restore normal immune balance and can help us overcome health challenges more quickly. In this recipe, I chose three of my favorite adaptogens that pair well with chocolate: reishi (a mushroom known in Chinese medicine to be one of the most potent adaptogens), ashwagandha (used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve stamina, brain function, and immunity), and maca (a South American root with a malty, caramel-like flavor that is rich in B vitamins, magnesium, and iron and praised for its hormone-balancing properties). I also add mesquite powder, which acts as a subtle sweetner with a delicious malty and earthy flavor. Mesquite powder (or flour) comes from the ground and dried pods of the mesquite tree. All parts of this drought-resistant tree were used by Native Americans for everything from food and beverages to medicine and glue.

This recipe is a make-ahead powdered mixture that you add to hot milk. I’m also sharing my favorite plant based milk recipe to use when making this hot chocolate. I slightly sweeten it with a combination of dates and dried coconut and then mix in vanilla—it actually tastes like melted ice cream. You can also use any milk you have on hand and if needed, sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener. I blend the hot chocolate mixture to give it a frothy texture and also add in some coconut butter. This gives the drink a velvety texture, along with a boost of healthy fats and protein. I’ve included my go-to resources for some of these ingredients below.

Note for Almond Coconut Milk: If your blender is 4 cup capacity or less, blend with 3 cups of water and add the remaining cup when straining the milk.


Reishi mushroom powder from Sun Warrior:

Organic ashwagandha from Furnace Creek Farm (also available at N.Y.C. Farmers Markets):

Cacao and maca root powder from Navitas Organics:

Mesquite powder from Terra Soul:

Coconut butter from CAP Beauty:

Nut milk bag from Ellie’s Best: —Amy Chaplin

What You'll Need
  • Adaptogen Hot Chocolate Mix & Almond-Coconut Milk With Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons mesquite powder
  • 4 teaspoons ashwagandha powder
  • 4 teaspoons reishi mushroom powder
  • 4 teaspoons maca root powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds, soaked overnight in 3 cups of filtered water
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 to 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Adaptogen Hot Chocolate (makes one serving)
  • 1 cup almond-coconut milk (recipe above)
  • 2 tablespoons adaptogen hot chocolate mix (recipe above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon coconut butter
  1. Adaptogen Hot Chocolate Mix & Almond-Coconut Milk With Vanilla
  2. To make the hot chocolate mix:

    Place the cacao powder, mesquite powder, ashwagandha powder, reishi powder, maca root powder, and cinnamon in a small jar and stir well to combine. Be sure that there are no lumps. Secure lid and store for up to 6 months in a dark cool place.
  3. To make the almond-coconut milk:

    Place a medium strainer over a medium bowl and line with a nut milk bag, a few layers of cheesecloth; or a thin kitchen towel; set aside.

    Drain and rinse the almonds and place them in an upright blender. Add coconut, 4 cups filtered water, dates, and salt and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Pour through nut milk bag into bowl and squeeze pulp to extract as much milk as possible. Save pulp for another use or compost. Pour milk into a clean glass jar, add vanilla, and stir well. Seal jar and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  1. Adaptogen Hot Chocolate (makes one serving)
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add almond-coconut milk and begin to warm it. Once it starts to simmer, remove from heat and pour directly into an upright blender. Add the hot chocolate mix and coconut butter and blend until foaming. Pour into a cup and drink warm.

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Amy Chaplin is a two-time James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and vegetarian chef. Amy's approach to cooking is inspired by nature and the healing benefits of whole food ingredients. Her recipes have been featured in T Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Vogue, among other publications. She divides her time between Brooklyn and Upstate New York.

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