Tag Archives: cocoa powder

Champurrado (p.34)

If you like champurrado, you may also like pinolillo, which is similar, but grittier, and (unlike the recipe below) if you make it with sugar and plant milk, it tastes kind of like the plant milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl.

Champurrado is a creamy hot chocolate that is thickened with corn flour, and traditionally sold with tamales as a breakfast-on-the-go by tamaleros in the streets of Mexican cities. Even if you don’t have a tamalero handy, champurrado is not to be missed! It can be spiced with cinnamon, anise, or vanilla. Muchas gracias to our fine illustrator, Cat Callaway, for helping us figure out the right search terms to learn about champurrado.

Makes one cupful
Takes 15 minutes

  • 8 ounces plant milk
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour (masa harina)

Simmer the plant milk, cocoa powder, and sugar over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar and cocoa are completely mixed in. Add the corn flour and continue to stir for about 10 minutes, making sure no corn flour sticks to the bottom of the pot. Serve warm.

Some traditional recipes call for champurrado to be frothed with a molinillo. If you want a lighter beverage but don’t have a molinillo of your own, an immersion blender will do the trick.


Cocoa Masala Chai (p.32)

Note: We meant to keep everything to a more universal “plant milk” that works for everyone, but it looks like this one escaped our notice. Soy milk it is!

Karha Masala, or chai, is a blend of tea and other spices. There is so much variation in chai spices. We use several variations on karha masala that work well with cocoa. Here’s one simple recipe that uses ingredients you may already have on hand. Plain black tea is the most commonly used tea, but you can also use Earl Grey (the bergamot in Earl Grey is a citrus oil, and citrus goes well both with chocolate and in chai) or even green tea or rooibos.

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon tea leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • Soy milk (optional)
  • Sweetener (optional)

Heat water in a kettle or saucepan.

Meanwhile, put your tea in a tea ball and drop it into a mug. In the same mug, combine the cocoa powder, allspice, anise, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

When the water has reached your desired temperature, add enough to fill the bottom quarter of the mug and stir it into the cocoa powder and spices. Add more water and steep for three to five minutes.

Remove the tea ball and add soy milk and sweetener if you want them.

Simple method: For a simple cocoa chai, add cocoa to a plain tea or premixed chai. Either way, it’s taste-tea!

Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar (page 163)

1/3 cup cocoa powder (heaping)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3-1/2 cup trail mix

Melt coconut oil using a double boiler or solar oven. If you’re careful not to overheat the oil, you can also melt it directly on the stove or in the microwave.

Combine the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. If your coconut oil isn’t already a liquid, take care of that now. Stir in the coconut oil. Add trail mix. Pour the mixture into a mold. This will make a standard chunky chocolate bar.

To make fruit & nut chocolate clusters, increase the amount to a cup of trail mix and dip out spoonfuls onto wax paper. It will hold together better if you allow it to cool slightly before spooning it out.

Here are some alternative ingredients to go in or on your chunky chocolate bars. Mix and match as appropriate:

  • Banana chips (sweet or salty)
  • Coarse salt
  • Fruits (dried/freeze-dried)
  • Nuts & Seeds (chopped
  • Puffed rice
  • Toasted coconut
  • Toasted oats
  • Wasabi peanuts
  • Candied flowers
  • Candied ginger
  • Candied nuts (page 167)
  • Candy cane (blended)

Cherry Chocolate Milk (p.36)

Hey! If you don’t have cherry flavoring, you could probably substitute almond flavoring.  They smell similar, just be extra-sure you don’t skip the step where you color the milk!

If at all possible, this beautiful pink beverage should be served in a clear glass.

Makes one pint
Takes 30 minutes

  • 1 red beet (for beet water)
  • 2 cups of plant milk
  • 5 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 5 teaspoons cherry jam or other sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon cherry flavoring

Cube the beet for another recipe, such as “Hummus of the Gods” (page 88). Boil the beet for the boiled beet water. When the beet is cooked, reserve 2 tablespoons of the beet water for immediate use, and pour the rest off into an ice cube tray for coloring future cherry chocolate milk or turning pretty much everything you cook red for a while.

Simmer the milk on low heat in a small pot, stirring, until you start to see steam rising from the surface. Remove the milk from the heat and add the cocoa powder, jam, beet water, and cherry flavoring. Whisk until everything except the cherry from the jam is well-dissolved. To enjoy the delights of delayed gratification, put your cherry chocolate milk in the fridge, wait, and drink it cold.

Fast & simple cherry chocolate milk: The full recipe above gives a more nuanced blend of flavors, but here’s the 5-minute version. In a pint glass, combine 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup, 1 cup plant milk, and 1/2 teaspoon cherry flavoring. Drop in a few shreds of fresh red beet if you have a beet handy and stir everything well with a dessert spoon. Stir in the remaining cup of plant milk and serve.

Fresh cherry chocolate milk: What?! Cherries are in season! Forget about that beet! Bust out the red cherries! Blend together a glass of plant milk, a handful of pitted red cherries, and 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder. Serve in a glass with a dessert spoon.

Chocolate Smoothie (p.30)

We love this recipe for its simplicity and reliable tastiness. Stick to the more intense fruits for flavor, and use bland fruits such as apples, bananas, and pears for substance and sweetness. Avoid using citrus; it’s too pulpy. If the fruit doesn’t come out sweet enough on its own, substitute 1/4 cup of chocolate chips for the cocoa powder. Now is the time to use up any ugly, abandoned, or forgotten fruit; it still tastes delicious in a smoothie!

Makes about 2 cups
Takes about 10 minutes

  • 10 ounces frozen local fruits (blueberries, strawberries, mango, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and/or 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Plant milk (as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter or seeds (optional)
  • Spices (optional)

Drop the fruit into the blender, and add the cocoa powder. If you’re using chocolate chips, don’t add them yet. Add any nut butter and spices. Pour in enough plant milk into the blender to just cover the berries.

Blend until smooth, which is usually when you start to see a consistent funnel shape swirling at the top of the smoothie. Depending on the blender, you may need to turn it off briefly and use a utensil to jab at the fruit a little to break it up, or add a little more plant milk to help it blend.

After the smoothie is smooth, drop the chocolate chips into the blender and blend them until they reach the size you’d prefer. They turn into micro-chips very quickly, so this may only take a few seconds.

Use a rubber spatula to scrape every last drop of smoothie from the blender into a glass.

Chocolate Peanut Butter (p. 83)

Got Phyllo dough? Optionally, substitute hazelnut butter for the peanut butter and either way, you’ve got mock Nutella. You can make Chocolate Baklava!


I had a lot of fun working with Wendy Batterman on chocolate peanut butters. We learned just how subjective the sense of taste can be—I liked extra cocoa, while Wendy preferred more salt. If you use unsweetened peanut butter, the sugar will add a stronger chocolate flavor than the chocolate peanut butter would otherwise have. If your peanut butter already contains sugar, you can omit sugar from the recipe.

1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Powdered sugar (optional)

In a jar, combine all ingredients and stir thoroughly. This can be a little messy. The alternative, also messy (but a little faster), is to combine all ingredients in a bowl and transfer the mixture to a jar using a rubber spatula.

Serve it on toast or sandwiches, use it as a base for a peanut sauce, or as a dip for fruits and vegetables. You can also mix in mini marshmallows, toasted coconut, granola, or other toppings.

Dad’s Strawberries, Chocolate Style (p. 84)

Strawberry season would come around when I was a kid, and I’d wake up one morning to sugared strawberries, which was the best surprise ever, and which my dad would make by sprinkling sugar over strawberries and putting it all in the fridge. I can even remember which container he would use. The sugar pulls the liquid out of the strawberries and you end up with syrupy strawberry goodness.

This year, when strawberry season came around, I realized that we had no choice but to reinvent it. We eat this with pancakes, but it also goes well on peanut buttered toast.

Makes about 4 cups of strawberry topping (plus one mug of strawberry drink)
Takes all night (plus 2–4 hours baking the optional caramelized sugar)

Caramelized Sugar
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Pour a bag of sugar into a glass baking pan and shake the pan so it’s evenly distributed. Do not use a metal pan—that will melt the sugar instead of caramelizing it. Cook the sugar for 2–4 hours. Crush any chunks. Caramelization makes the sugar a little less sweet and more flavorful, which will result in a more complex strawberry dish. This will make a subtle difference for those with discerning taste buds.

6 tablespoons white sugar or caramelized sugar
4 cups sliced strawberries
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Plant milk (optional)

In a large container, combine the strawberries, mint, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Put the lid on and put the container in the fridge. In the morning, it’s ready! Use a fork to serve these strawberries over pancakes or toast.

Fresh, rich strawberry drink: Drain the syrupy by-product from the bowl of strawberries into a cup and add 1–2 times as much plant milk as there is syrup. Stir it, then sip it. This is objectively amazing and might be the best part of the whole “Dad’s Strawberries” recipe.

Strawberry salsa: If you want something you can eat straight, decrease the sugar to 1/4 cup and replace the cocoa powder with 1/4 cup of cocoa nibs, and let it all sit for an hour instead of overnight.

Mexican Chile Seasoning (p. 79)

Here is a theobrominated spin on a traditional Mexican treat. Sprinkle this powder on fruits and vegetables, add it to beans… the possibilities are endless.

Makes 1/2 cup
Takes 5 minutes

2 tablespoons sumac powder
2 tablespoons ground chile pepper
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon salt

Mix together all ingredients. Store in a jar and sprinkle on everything as needed.

Fresh lime: During lime season, you can replace the sumac with the juice of a lime. This version must be refrigerated and should last for several days in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Cardamom Mangoes (p. 57)

I spent a summer working on a mango farm in tropical north Queensland, so we had access to more mangoes than we could eat. When I think of these chocolate cardamom mangoes, they remind me of so many tropical memories. Serve this over rice for breakfast or over ice cream and brownies for a sweet dessert.

Makes 2 half-mango servings
Takes 20 minutes

1 mango (slightly firm is good)
2 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons cocoa nibs, minced
1 teaspoon sugar

Cut mango into halves and remove the seed. Slice a 1/2 inch grid into the meat of the mango halves, leaving the skin intact.

Sprinkle one teaspoon of cardamom and the cocoa powder over the gridded mango halves.

Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the nibs, sugar, and the remaining cardamom to the pan. Scrape any flesh off the mango seed, mince it, and add it to the pan.

Put the mango halves in the pan flesh-side down and press down into the pan. Cook uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes, until they are heated through.

Turn off the heat and remove the mango halves from the pan to cool. When they have cooled enough to handle, invert the skins and scrape free any flesh that doesn’t fall off. Drizzle the sauce from the pan over the mangoes and serve them while they’re still warm.

Chocolate cardamom pears: If you don’t have access to tropical fruit, substitute a pear for the mango. Cut the pear into 1/4 inch cubes. Toss them in a bowl with cocoa powder and one teaspoon of cardamom, then proceed with the recipe. Instead of pressing them into the pan, stir occasionally while cooking. Once they are hot and coated with the sugar mixture, transfer them directly to a bowl and drizzle them with sauce from the pan.

Date balls #2 (p. 61)

I invented these while I was working on the original date balls, which were inspired by the coconut-date rolls found in the bulk section at our food co-op. You can make these in no time, and they look lovely in a glass jar. They get eaten so fast I wonder if I ever really made them.

Makes 15–20 bite-sized balls
Takes 15 minutes

1 cup minced dates
1 tablespoon minced sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon minced hazelnut
1 tablespoon minced cocoa nibs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one orange (optional)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (for coating)

In a bowl, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients except cocoa powder.

A spoonful at a time, roll them into balls. We recommend tablespoon-sized balls, but this is not an exact science.

Sprinkle the balls with cocoa powder or drop them into a small bowl of cocoa powder and roll them around. The cocoa powder makes the balls less sticky, easier to handle, and prettier.

Store them in a container that keeps its shape; in a bag they’ll get squished but still taste great.

Thrilling date balls: Find a chili powder with a super-high heat unit and make a few extra-spicy date balls. Share them with friends who are always seeking the hottest of spicy foods and they’ll be thrilled.

Trail mix date balls: You can make these date balls with all sorts of minced trail mix ingredients in place of the sunflower seeds and hazelnuts. Experiment! If you add too many nuts and you’ve run out of dates, sprinkle the extra mixture over oatmeal.