With winter in full-swing, there are few things I enjoy more than having a mug of something deliciously hot to sip. While I find a steaming mug of hot chocolate difficult to turn down, I worry about the sugar content of big-name hot cocoa packets and how the cocoa is harvested. The biggest names — Hershey’s, Nestle, Mars — still cannot label their chocolate as slave free or fair trade, because it is not. With an estimated 1.8 million children at risk for working as slaves in cocoa fields, I want to support a company that pays their workers a fair price so that they can slowly increase their fields and thus their amount of fairly treated workers.
For this drink, I started with a fair trade, organic cocoa by Dagoba, and paired it with another favorite of mine: chai. My hope was that by incorporating chai, I could add complexity to the drink while also getting away with adding honey as my sweetener. Adding almond milk resulted in a creamy, spicy hot chocolate, my go-to hot beverage this winter.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
5 cups water
3-4 black tea bags, such as English Breakfast (2 teaspoons of loose leaf black tea may serve as a substitute)
1 heaping tablespoon fair-trade cocoa, unsweetened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 cardamom pods, split
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp of honey per cup
Heat the water in a saucepan on the stove until it becomes a rolling boil. Add the tea and turn the heat down to low. Allow the tea to simmer for 3 minutes.
Add the next four ingredients, and let the mixture simmer for 3 more minutes.
Meanwhile, place one teaspoon of honey into the bottom of each mug, and gently heat the almond milk in a small saucepan (do not let it boil).
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the almond milk to the hot chocolate chai, stirring until the flavors are well-combined. Pour hot chocolate chai into each mug over the honey and stir.
Tip: Still looking for an original gift for that special person on your list? Pick up a package of slave free cocoa and wrap it with a mug handmade by a local potter. Attach a letter explaining why this particular chocolate is unique and perhaps a copy of this recipe.