Monday, February 10, 2014

Skinny Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

I've always been casually ambivalent towards Valentine's Day. I'm not too sentimental (Read: I'm not sentimental. Like, at all.) I'm not that into jewelry and I'm pretty positive I'm allergic to flowers. But I'll be damned if I'm not gonna accept some delicious chocolate just because Hallmark is telling someone to give it to me. Who am I to get in the way of that tradition?

But lately, there's only reason I get remotely excited when February 1st rolls. In the last few years the rest of the universe has accepted what I've known to be true for quite a while: Red velvet is one of the best things that's ever happened to food. Maybe even to the world in general.

People who call red velvet "just a regular cake with food coloring" are just so wrong. Maybe it's the rich, opulent color that draws me to a red velvet cookie. It could be the simplicity and subtlety of mild cocoa flavor bundled up in dense, moist cupcake. Or, it could be because I love to eat cream cheese frosting by the spoonful (so much so that I created a healthy version -- try it here!). Who's really keeping score anyway?

Now, I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to realize that beauty red velvet could be repurposed into a beverage. To everyone who has kept red velvet hot chocolate from me until this moment: we're fighting.

When I finally realized all that my life was missing, I promptly cooked up a recipe. Mainly almond milk and cocoa, there's nothing in the way of keeping this treat a healthy one. It's so low in calories that, if you're like me, you may want to hit it with a shot (or two) of whipped cream while you're at it.

What I experienced when I took my first steamy sip can only be described one way -- it was a hug in a mug. That's coming from this self-professed pragmatist who's not even that fond of hugging. But no, it was so warm and rich and velvety that when I reached the bottom, I was actually sad. 

So it may be socially acceptable to red velvet-ify everything in sight only during Valentine's season, but there's not a chance I'm giving up this now nightly tradition any time soon.

-- Cara

1 C Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs stevia
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
5  drops red food coloring

1. Combine milk, cocoa powder, stevia and food coloring in a pot. Stir continuously until it comes to a boil and then remove from heat.
2. Stir in vanilla. Pour and enjoy!

Nutrition: 1 cup (without whipped cream) = 43 calories
Carbs: 5g Fat: 4g Protein: 1g

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