Imagine it’s a cold, snowy winter day. You’ve laced up your winter boots and bundled up to shovel what’s accumulated on all those spaces on your property you’d like to be able to drive or walk across at some point before the thaw. You’ve had a blast out there with the family building snowmen, battling with snowballs, and making snow angels, but now it’s time to come in. Your cheeks are rosy. The tip of your nose is a little numb, truth be told. As you peel the damp layers from your body, you understand the phrase “chilled to the bone.” Sound familiar?
Some of you will say yes and some of you who live in warmer climates than we do may not quite relate. Either way, you’re all going to appreciate the following allergy-friendly hot drink recipes that warm you up from the inside out. Sipping a generous mug of these beverages while curled up on the couch with your favorite people is the perfect recipe for a blissful afternoon – whether or not the weather outside is frightful.
Basic Hot Chocolate
For dairy allergic families, finding a safe hot chocolate mix can be a challenge, but that’s okay. Truth be told, while mixes are convenient, the best hot chocolate is always the homemade variety. You’re not missing out, you’re just doing it better. For a basic, dairy-free twist on this classic, start by heating 2 cups of your favorite safe milk. Experiment with your options here – coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, or nut milks like cashew or almond. You can customize the flavor of your drink by selecting a milk-base to your taste and allergy needs. Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar or another sweetener, and ½ cup of dairy-free, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Whisk the mixture until the chips are melted and everything is well combined. Fill your mugs and savor!
Want to up your hot-drink game a little? Try chai tea. The warm spices in the typical chai mix will give you that cozy feeling all on their own. For a basic recipe, mix 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon with 1 tablespoon of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon each of nutmeg, allspice and cardamom, ½ teaspoon of ground clovers, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Take a moment to inhale those delicious smells mingling together. Yum!
In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of your dairy-free milk of choice until scalding. Turn off the burner and add two bags of black tea to the pot. Let it steep for about 5 minutes and then remove the bags. Add 1 teaspoon of your previously made spice mix (put the rest in a jar to use another time!) and 1-2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Whisk the components together by hand or in a blender. The blender will give your drink a bit of a frothy texture for a little added flair.
Most ciders (although not all!) are free of the top-8 allergens. Making your own mulled mug of deliciousness, however, is a treat you can’t beat. Even better, it’s simple to make. Combine six cups of apple cider with 12 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 2-inch wedge of peeled & sliced ginger, and two peeled and sliced oranges in a saucepan. Simmer the mixture together for about half an hour. When it’s done, strain through a fine sieve and enjoy!
After all that work and play outdoors, you may want a caffeine boost (although, really, who needs an excuse for a good mug of coffee?). Blend 1 cup of canned coconut milk in a blender until well mixed. Add in 1 tablespoon each of cocoa powder and honey and ½ teaspoon of vanilla and mix until it’s well combined. Then add in 1 cup of hot coffee (or iced if you prefer!) and blend for another 4-5 minutes.
Dairy-free Whipped Cream
Before you curl up on the couch with your mug full of wonderful, let’s talk whipped topping. Every one of the drinks shared above is awesome in their own right, but you can really take it up a notch with a healthy dollop of whipped creamy wonderfulness. Dairy allergies don’t need to preclude you from this finishing touch! (If you’ve got tree nut allergies, talk to your doctor about whether coconut is safe for you.)
You’re going to need a little pre-planning for this one because it begins with a can of coconut milk chilled in the refrigerator overnight. You’ll also want to chill a large mixing bowl for about 10 minutes before making your whipped cream. Ready? Open the can of coconut milk, being careful not to shake or tip the can in order to limit the risk of mixing all the goodness inside together. Scoop out the thickened cream into your chilled bowl and leave the liquid aside for later use. Beat the coconut cream for about 30 seconds and then add up to ¾ a cup of powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Beat the mixture until it’s creamy and smooth.
If you do need to (or want to) skip the coconut milk, you can also make a luscious, creamy whipped topping using aquafaba, which is the liquid found in canned chickpeas. Combine ½ cup of aquafaba with 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar. With a mixer at high speed, combine the two until it forms stiff peaks. Add in up to ¾ cup of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix until it’s fluffy and smooth. Got leftovers? Try storing it in the freezer.