The snow finally came to Sofia. Yesterday morning I woke up to see the snow-capped mountain in my window and all my Sunday plans were swept by the desire to enjoy this beauty. In less than an hour I was in the mountain.
Sparkling snow, sheer whiteness, bright sun, fresh mountain air and dazzling beauty were waiting for us up there. We spent a few hours walking among flakes-trimmed trees, white-cloaked bushes and snow-carpeted lanes. It was absolutely stunning, giving me the feeling that I am in a magical white kingdom somewhere in the fairy-tale world.
Back home, I couldn’t imagine a better finale than a cup of strong and aromatic homemade chocolate. These days I have the irresistible desire to prepare, serve and test Christmas-smelling treats – cookies with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, tea with clove and cardamom, and, of corse< hot chocolate with raw cacao and …pink peercorns. I saw the combinations of cacao and peppercorns in a Dutch recipe for hot chocolate certain time ago. I tried it out of curious and easily got addicted. The slightly chilly hot chocolate leaves a fiery kiss on your tongue before flowing down to warm and energize your body.
Unlike processed dark chocolate, antioxidants are preserved in raw cacao. This amazing superfood, contains also minerals, vitamin C, phenethylamine (PEA, the feel good neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love!), omega 6 fatty acids, tryptophan (a commonly deficient amino acid in those who consume a diet of mostly cooked food) and serotonin – all that are good for your health!
Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system.
Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao include: weight loss, prevention of cavities and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes. Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.
It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate.
That is why in preparing my homemade hot chocolate, I do not use ordinary caws milk but hazelnut milk, which adds to the wonderful taste and does not call for additional sweetener. I only slightly warm the milk (after all, it is hot chocolate, we are talking about) but keeping away from the boiling point to prevent the high temperature from destroying the raw cacao properties.
Hot chocolate with hazelnut milk
Ingredients for 2 cups:
- 2 cups hazelnut milk
- 2 tbs raw cacao
- 7-8 peppercorns seeds
Heat the milk (keeping it from boiling). Lower the temperature, crash the peppercorns, add them to the milk and wait for a couple of minutes to infuse the milk with the chilly notes. Add the cocoa, stir well to dissolve, filter through a strainer and serve warm.