DARK SALTED HOT CHOCOLATE (VEGAN) + EDIBLE BLUE RIDGE FEATURE!

I've got a who-knows-how-old hand crank can opener. You can see on the handle how the edges have been worn out from grappling and scrubbing and getting knocked around. I puncture a hole in the lid of a can of coconut milk and creakily edge around. Silvery-white liquid bubbles up out of the can before I pry the top off to reveal buttery coconut cream underneath. 
 
It's the closest thing to condensed milk in my life, or to cream for that matter. And it's really the only non-dairy milk worthy to be combined with top-notch chocolate. Because making a mediocre cocoa with watery almond milk and leaving half of it sitting out on the side-table is just not going to cut it this time. And the only vegan hot cocoa that gives me that thoughtful, appreciative furrow between my eyebrows is one made with coconut milk. 
 
I can't even tell you how many different versions of vegan hot cocoa I've made. Lets just go ahead and say hundreds. Because who's counting, really? The recipe following is the result of probably too much pointed focus on making chocolate and milk swirl together perfectly. My extremely picky, slightly food-snobby father gives it a big ol thumbs up while sporting a goofy-happy grin post sippage (that's like winning the national hot-chocolate gold-medal, to me). I also tote this one in a thermos on hikes and camping trips. Because If you're going to get prissy about anything in life it should be what's in your cup on the road.
 
And HEY! My partner/fiancee and I have been featured in the Artisan issue of Edible Blue Ridge! Pick up a free copy if you're in Central VA, or you can check out the article on Frolic Chocolate via the e-mag here -- scroll through to page 9 and you'll see it under the heading "Bean to Bar." 

DARK SALTED VEGAN HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPE 

 
1/2 cup thickest coconut milk
1/2 cup water
35 grams 70% dark chopped chocolate
1 tbsp simple syrup (or maple syrup)
1 tbsp unsweet cocoa powder
pinch sea salt
 
how to: 
 
Stir together coconut milk and water and pour into a small sauce pot. Heat on medium-high until just simmering. Remove from heat. 
 
Add chocolate and let sit about a minute (this gives the chocolate time to melt properly). Stir, add cocoa powder, salt, and simple syrup. Blend vigorously with a whisk OR quickly blitz it in a blender to get it perfectly combined. 
 
Pour into a big ol' mug. (Sometimes I top mine with toasted marshmallows). Sip & enjoy!
 
xo
 
Renee