Hot chocolate–the healthy way

As a child growing up in Wisconsin, I was crazy for hot chocolate, especially after a cold day spent outside ice skating or sledding. As an adult, however, I had lost touch with my childhood beverage because of all the sugar in it. However, several years ago, I revisited my favorite beverage of years-gone-by after participating on a mission trip to Costa Rica.
Given that cacao is probably one of the best superfoods out there (stay tuned for the benefits of cacao), I wanted to reproduce in my own kitchen what a number of tribes in Central America had done for hundreds of years. I started tinkering with the ratio of water to cacao beans to bananas, as well as determining the optimum cooking time. I after several days of experimenting this is what I came up with.
My “cocoa loco” recipe:
One banana3 tablespoons of organic cacao nibs16 ounces of water (or almond milk)
I put all the ingredients in a small pot and brought them to a gentle boil, mashing the banana until it was broken up. When the water started to boil, I turned down the heat and let the mixture simmer on the stove for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Voila! It’s that easy! I then poured the decoction into a large mug using a regular strainer to strain out the nibs.
Now, if you want something even faster and cold, just pull out your blender (I have a Vitamix) throw in a banana (frozen is best), 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs and as much water needed to get to your optimal consistency. Blend and drink. Not traditional, but very quick and very tasty!
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