It's wintertime, and Brisbane is all cobalt skies and bracing breezes. After dark, the smell of log fires wafts through neighbourhoods as we walk bundled in thick, woolly jumpers with cold, rosy cheeks. It's a lovely time of year, although one thing is missing from our chilly tableau. Yes, I'm talking about hot chocolate.
'But what about my paleo/vegan/gluten-free/I quit sugar diet', you say? It's no problem health nuts, I got you.
Health foods, like everything else, come in and out of fashion and, for a while now, juices and smoothies are having their moment. Green juices, in particular, have lead this charge and, I admit, I too have joined the ranks of the young, urban, and trendy who've forked out for a cold-press juicer and get up early on weekends to forage around farmers markets for organic, leafy veg to feed it. The thing is, as evangelical as I feel about getting all that fresh, raw goodness down in a single glass, kale just isn't morning fare for me.
Which is why I'm loving the latest blender-based trend to hit this winter: that's right, we're back around to hot chocolate. Hot chocolate smoothies, to be precise.
Here's the thing: we all need a little extra help getting out of bed on nippy winter mornings and that's exactly what this saintly bevvy delivers. It's a snap to prepare when you're rushing out the door (even better if you're lounging in a sun trap), super warming, and decadent enough to make getting out from under the doona well worth our while in a way silverbeet just never could be.
To make my hot chocolate smoothie you'll need:
1 heaped tbs raw cocoa powder (you'll find it in the baking section of the grocery store)?
1/2 tsp vanilla?
1 tsp chia seeds
?2 medjool dates (the soft, crinkly ones) / or 4 regular dates / or some honey if you prefer?
1 cup boiling water
Wizz all the ingredients up in a blender, pour into a big glass, or mason jar if you're on the go, and enjoy!
For advanced hot smoothie manoeuvres, try adding:
1 tbs peanut or almond butter, raw oats,? a pinch of cinnamon,?coconut, and a scoop? of protein power (I like the Sun Warrior chocolate vegan protein).
TUL Note: Catherine is a Brisbane-based blogger and purveyor of neo-traditional food, craft, and home-styling wares at The Spring Shop. For more recipes, DIY projects, style tips, and notes from around town, you can follow her at The Spring Blog.