Oh Winter, I have a complicated relationship with you! I love your beauty, I loathe your slushy drabness, I love your contrast, I hate your darkness. But oh, how I love your cozy sweaters, big scarves, nourishing warm foods, and your ability to make hot drinks seem like utter magic in a mug. With that cozy magic in mind, here is a recipe for Rosemary + Lavender Hot Cocoa – a mix you can prepare ahead of time (and maybe gift!), or for a single mug. Take your hot cocoa to the next level with these beautiful and nutritious herbs.
The Magic of Herbs
I fully believe that food should be our first and daily medicine, and that nature provides most of what we need to live full and healthy lives (though drugs and other medical interventions are certainly important in our lives too!). Herbs can be the most potent of these daily medicines, as they are absolutely packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and other healing compounds. This recipe uses two common culinary herbs – uplifting rosemary and calming lavender.
Rosemary is uplifting to the senses and gently warming to the body. It works as a mild analgesic, is antibacterial, brings clarity to mind and aids memory – remember Shakespeare’s line, “there’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance” in Hamlet?
Lavender is famous for its calming and heavy aroma, calling up visions of warm sun-soaked fields in France, laden with the scent of summer. Used widely as a treatment for anxiety and chronic stress, lavender is also mildly analgesic, soothes burns, eases headaches, and works topically as an antibacterial to heal skin ailments such as acne.
I have added some optional ingredients that you are welcome to take or leave as you desire – they are not in anyway integral to the flavour of the cocoa, but can boost your drink with added benefits if you need. Mushroom powder, particularly reishi for it’s nourishing effect on the adrenals and immune system. Adaptogenic maca for it’s hormone-balancing and adrenal supportive aspects. Collagen for added protein and gut-healing qualities (leave out if you are vegan or vegetarian). Cardamom is warming and adds just a hint of spice to balance out the cooling lavender, but the drink is lovely without it also.
I personally prefer my hot cocoa minimally sweetened (if at all), so this recipe is completely sweetener-free. Bonus for the keto folks out there! If you are mixing this up by the jar, you can go ahead and add a little sugar (about 1-2 Tbsp), or leave it out and allow the drinker to add maple syrup, stevia, or preferred sweetener to their liking on a cup-by-cup basis.
This mix takes just a few minutes to throw together, and makes a lovely gift during these chilly months! Just want a single mug right now? Measurements for making this cocoa by the cup are just below.
Rosemary + Lavender Hot Cocoa Mix
Makes 1 – 1 1/2 cups prepared mix
1 c. fairtrade cocoa powder
1 tsp dried rosemary, ground semi-fine
1 tsp dried culinary lavender flowers
1 tsp ground cardamom, optional
1 Tbsp maca powder, optional
2 Tbsp reishi mushroom powder, optional
1/4 c. collagen powder, optional
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and transfer to a mason jar or old tea tin, ready to go for your next outdoor adventure or indoor winter hideaway.
To make a mug of Hot Cocoa from your prepared mix:
Simply add 1 Tbsp of the mix to your favourite mug, add sweetener if desired. Splash in a bit of coconut milk (or other milk of choice) and stir the mixture to make a paste. Top up your cup with boiling water and a splash more milk. Enjoy the uplifting aromas and warming sensation as you become instantly cozy!
Skip the water entirely and make this on the stove top with a full cup of milk for a richer drink, or keep it simple and make this directly in your mug.
Mug of Rosemary + Lavender Hot Cocoa
1 Tbsp fairtrade cocoa powder
pinch rosemary, ground semi-fine
pinch culinary lavender
pinch ground cardamom, optional
1/2 tsp maca powder, optional
1/2 Tbsp reishi mushroom powder, optional
1 Tbsp collagen powder, optional
1/3 cup coconut milk, or milk of choice
2/3 cup boiling water
Place cocoa and herbs (and optional dry ingredients if desired) in your favourite mug. Add sweetener of choice if desired and a splash of the coconut milk only. Stir this into a paste before adding the rest of the milk and top up with boiled water to ensure no lumps are left and a nice velvety froth occurs. Get cozy and enjoy!
Need a little snack to go with your hot cocoa? Try these lovely warming Winter Gingerbread Cookies.
This Autumn Spiced Coffee is another cozy drink for chilly and damp weather – what’s your favourite way to warm up on a snowy day?