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Somehow, my wonderful little miss had made it to nearly six years old without ever trying hot chocolate. I was never a big fan of hot chocolate, as I was accustomed to those terrible little packets filled with a faint tan powder and tiny, dehydrated marshmallows. That is until Casey introduced me to Abuelita brand a couple of years back. I admit, shamefully, that the notion of actually melting chocolate, rather than relying on cocoa powder, had never occurred to me. Those watery, pale hot chocolates can’t hold a candle to the dark, rich creaminess created by using chocolate. Abuelita contains dairy, however, so when the autumn air hit last week, I figured I would try to come up with a new recipe. Two recipes, actually.

Miette’s First Hot Chocolate

1 can low fat coconut milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips or chocolate bar broken into small chunks

1 tablespoon agave nectar

Dandies Vegan Marshmallows for serving

In a small sauce pan, melt the chocolate in the coconut milk over low heat, stirring constantly so as not to burn the chocolate (I recommend using a small silicon spatula). Once chocolate is completely melted (about 5 minutes), add agave nectar and stir to combine. Pour into your favorite mugs and top with marshmallows. This make four small (about 6 oz) servings.

Recipe number two is a little more grown-up, and takes advantage of the bitters from last week’s Infusion Friday.

Spiced Hot Chocolate

1 can coconut milk (you can opt for low fat, but I enjoy the fuller coconut flavor here)

1/2 cup chocolate chips or chocolate bar broken into small chunks

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1/2 oz. Smoky, Spicy Cinnamon Bitters

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 vanilla bean

In a mixing bowl, whisk together coconut milk, the scrapings from one vanilla bean, cinnamon, and bitters. From there, the recipe is just like Miette’s Hot Chocolate.

I really had no idea that it would be this easy, and I love that this was all put together by relying on pantry items that are easily kept on hand. Miette loved it so much that at least twice this week she has mentioned making it again, and I’m sure this will be a staple in this household for the months to come.