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Dairy-Free Sugar-Free Hot Cocoa

By November 29, 2017Recipes
Reading Time: 3 minutes
The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

Does the colder weather have you craving hot cocoa? But you don’t want to just drink a cup full of sugar? Try this dairy-free sugar-free hot cocoa.

This recipe makes a rich and creamy hot cocoa — not some thin, hot version of chocolate milk. When you drink this, you’ll be convinced you’re doing something you shouldn’t be. It’s that surprisingly good.

If you’ve ever worked with desserts or pastry, you’ll recognize this as a version of creme anglaise. It’s often used as dessert sauce or as an ice cream base. Both of those take a little more egg than this version (and a lot more sugar), but the thickening principle is the same. This recipe is a little work, but anyone who has boiled water can handle it.

So go ahead and treat yourself — and maybe take some “me” time with your mug, curl up by the fire, and break open a book, too. I promise you, that whole scenario is good for you.

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Dairy-Free Sugar-Free Hot Cocoa

This recipe makes a rich and creamy hot cocoa — not some thin, hot version of chocolate milk. When you drink this, you’ll be convinced you’re doing something you shouldn’t be.

Category Beverage, Dessert
Compliance Level Kickstart, Lifestyle, Performance
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Author Michael Stanwyck


  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Stevia or monk fruit powder to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Put the almond milk in a pot and start to heat over a medium-high heat.
  2. Mix the cocoa powder and sweetener together and whisk into the almond milk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Mix your vanilla extract in now, as well.
  4. Heat the mixture slowly to just below the boil. This is known as “scalding.” When the liquid starts to bubble around the edges of the pot. Turn off the heat.
  5. Beat the egg in a bowl.
  6. You are now going to perform a technique called “tempering.” You will bring the egg up in temperature gently so it doesn’t scramble when it hits the liquid. Take about a cup of the hot cocoa liquid and slowly, while whisking the egg, pour it in a stream into the egg bowl.
  7. Once all of the hot liquid has been incorporated into the egg, whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the pot with the rest of the cocoa.
  8. Taste it for sweetness at this point and adjust if necessary.
  9. Turn the heat back on to a medium-high heat and whisk constantly as you bring up the temperature. Bring the liquid back up to just below a boil. (Don’t let it actually boil!) You will see the cocoa thicken. When you begin to see bubbles wanting to well up just under the surface, turn it off.
  10. Pour the mixture into mugs and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Try these variations:

  • Instead of 2 cups almond milk, use 1 cup almond milk and 1 cup coconut milk for an “Almond Joy” experience.
  • Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne for a Mexican hot cocoa.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.