Polar Express Day at school? Where do I sign up? Okay, actually, I did get to have a Polar Express Day in third grade. We ate chocolates, and Mrs. B gave us each a bell. It still ranks as one of my favorite Christmas memories. I ran into my beloved third grade teacher a few years ago at the grocery store, and I was as in awe of her then as I was in third grade. This year is different, though. This year it’s Toodle’s turn to have Polar Express Day, and they are doing all kinds of fun activities, including drinking hot chocolate. Because how can you not? Toodle was concerned she wouldn’t be able to participate in the food festivities, though, so we promptly went to work on this Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate recipe, complete with chocolate morsels and mini marshmallows.
Not only that, this is a throw-it-all-in-the-saucepan-and-go kind of recipe. That’s literally all I do. Throw the ingredients in, bring everything to a slight boil (basically enough to melt the chocolate chips), and call it done. It literally takes a matter of minutes. Then I top my Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate with marshmallows and a little extra cocoa powder. You could also top your steaming drink of awesomeness with coconut milk whipped “cream” or additional pieces of chocolate. For Polar Express Day, we prepped some the morning of the event, stored it in a thermos, and sent it to school with Toodle. We also included a small baggie of marshmallows to be added just before sippin’ time.
To make this Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate workable for Toodle’s food allergies, we made several specific decisions on ingredients and brands. And for as much as we like to keep sugar to a minimum, we decided this was definitely one of those times when a little extra sugar was totally worth it. So, how did we make our Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate gluten-free and soy-free, too? We used:
- 100% pure cocoa powder (We often use Hershey’s, however this time we used the seasonal brand available at Costco, Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa)
- Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips
- Almond milk
- Vanilla extract
- Agave nectar (for sure if you want a vegan variation of this recipe, otherwise 100% pure honey would work, too)
- Campfire brand mini marshmallows
Once we perfected the recipe, we had to test it out, of course. Our family has been sipping mugs of this deliciousness, and I can’t speak for the girls, but I totally think I will look back on this recipe with particular fondness. We’ve sipped Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate while reading Christmas books, watching Christmas movies, and studying how Christmas and other winter holidays are celebrated around the world. What started out as a way for Toodle to participate in school has morphed into the beginnings of a tradition. Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate is one of the many ways we are creating memories this year. And I suspect it will remain a staple in our family’s culinary repertoire.
Merry sippin’ to you and yours, Spiriteds!
Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate
- Cook Time: 7 mins
- Total Time: 7 mins
- Yield: 1 serving 1x
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free mini chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)
- 1 tablespoon 100% cocoa powder
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar (vegan) or 100% pure honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Handful of marshmallows
- Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stirring frequently, simmer until chocolate chips are melted.
- Let cool slightly and top with marshmallows, coconut milk whipped cream, additional chocolate chips, or a dusting of cocoa powder.