Ultra Creamy Mocha Hot Cocoa

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 14, 2012

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Lately, our favourite thing to do at night is go look at Christmas lights. Now that we live in a city again, it’s much easier to find rows and rows of houses all lit up within walking or driving distance. On warmer evenings, we bundle up in our cold-weather gear and head out for a brisk evening walk, trying to find the most decorated houses in the neighbourhood. It always brings me back to my childhood, especially when I see the huge, old-school multi-coloured light bulbs that my dad used to put up every year. It’s amazing how something as simple as Christmas lights can transport me back to when I was four.

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On chillier nights, we jump in the car and explore other neighbourhoods we don’t normally venture to. This usually involves a couple sad-but-true experiences: 1) we eventually get lost in a maze of neighbourhood streets, and 2) Eric drives down streets we’ve been down before and acts like we’re seeing the lights for the first time. I don’t have the heart to tell him he might be senile at the ripe age of 30. It happens.

There is one thing that sucks some of the joy out of this experience though, aside from those ear-piercing modern Christmas songs that make their way onto my holiday music radio station. Our aging car takes a painfully long time to start cranking out the heat, so the first part of the drive is always bone-chilling as we sit there shivering like crazy people, wondering why we thought it was a good idea to leave our warm house. Suddenly, Sketchie’s plan to stay bundled up under his favourite blanket seems like a very good idea.


The other night, I was sick of freezing my buns off so I decided to bring along some of this creamy hot cocoa in a couple thermos mugs. It was the perfect warming drink to sip on while I squealed like a 6 year old girl at all the lights and we fought over which colour and type of lights look the best. It never gets old.

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Ultra Creamy Mocha Hot Cocoa

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Yield = 3 cups


  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee (use decaf, if preferred)*
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • dash of fine grain sea salt


1. Whisk together the coffee and coconut milk in a medium-sized pot. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low.

2. Sift in the cocoa powder, whisking quickly to incorporate until no clumps remain. Whisk in maple syrup to taste and a dash of sea salt.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve immediately with vegan marshmallows and/or sugar-rimmed glasses or mugs. Store any leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge.

Note: This hot cocoa doesn’t have a super strong coffee flavour, so if you are looking for more coffee flavour, feel free to add more as desired. I used espresso beans and made it in my French Press just like traditional pressed coffee.

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On a very, very sad note today, my thoughts and condolences go out to those lost and their families in the tragic Connecticut school shooting.

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Erika December 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I loved reading this post! You and Eric sound like such an adorable couple…”senile at the ripe old age of 30″…sounds about the way I feel about my boyfriend sometimes! (Except he’s only 23!)

I’d love to do exactly what you guys do and whip up this delicious cocoa and go Christmas light gawking!


Erica { EricaDHouse.com } December 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

It’s finally approached ‘Winter’ weather here in Florida (meaning the low is 45 Fahrenheit!) so I have my excuse to binge on hot cocoa now – can’t wait to try this!


Tanya @ playful and hungry December 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I’d be glad if there would not be winter weather here… ;) I can give you some of our snow!


Brooke December 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm

That cocoa sounds a-maz-ing!!! I guess I’ll have to clean out my coffee pot now…lol.

The school shooting is soooo very sad and Connecticut is already a gun controlled state. Just goes to show that laws mean NOTHING to criminals and crazy people and that gun control is only for the law-abiding citizens.


Heather December 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I’m baking cookies with my best friend on Monday and I will definitely be making this cocoa. Do you think it will work with vanilla almond milk instead of coconut? Thanks!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Oh for sure..I meant to write in the recipe that you could sub almond milk nicely too. Enjoy!


Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} December 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Yum! This looks amazing! We haven’t gotten out to look at the Christmas lights yet, but I’ll be sure to make this for us when we do :)


Aly December 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Reading this post transported me to those countless Christmas Eves that my dad and I would spend driving around, admiring the lights and decorations when all of a sudden we would get the call that Santa was at the house. With me frantically bouncing around in the backseat, my dad would hurry home, only to find that, yes, we missed him again this year. (But look at what he left us?!) It is traditions like that that keep me going through the chilly holidays and it looks like your hot cocoa will be a nice addition :)


Miche December 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Mmm! That looks so yummy, and I can’t wait to whip some up :) You are very brave to wear that beautiful white coat with a cocoa based drink! I am a klutz, and I’m sure before I even made it to the car that I would have managed to get a spot on me.


Kimberly Palmer-Contreras December 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

My family and I drive around to see Christmas lights every year! Only, we are wearing flip-flops, Lol. But today we had a low of 57 today. Oh no! Get out the mittens! :P
If I want to use almond milk in place of the coconut milk, how much do I add?


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I think there is 1.5 cups of coconut milk in 1 can, so I would probably add that amount and you should be fine.
Oh I enjoyed a few Christmas seasons on the beach in my swimsuit, so I can relate to the flip flops thing. I lived in FL and GA for 4 years of my childhood.


Natalee December 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I live in Oakville as well and every Christmas Eve we make sure to stop in this one neighborhood on the way home from my parents because they go all out. They line the streets with paper lanterns and pretty much every house is done up beautifully. If you and the hubby get the urge, it’s the gigantic houses that back unto the Glen Abbey Golf Club at Upper Middle and Dorval, I think it’s Monastery Drive. Hope you make it out and enjoy!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Thanks for the tip…maybe we will come across it on one of our drives. We saw a super decorated house in Oakville somewhere (or maybe it was Burlington). I don’t recall where it was exactly but I posted a pic of it to my Instagram.


Haley December 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I had all the ingredients on hand, made this immediately. It is so yummy and creamy! And quick! Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe.


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Hi Haley, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!


Laura December 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Coffee and chocolate are always a deadly delicious mix. This drink sounds amazing!


Odette December 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

My husband and I like checking out the Christmas lights as well and we recently bumped into a really beautiful story at one of the houses here in San Diego.

A couple that has an autism child has the most amazing Christmas lights show:


The little boy is in love with Christmas lights since he was young, therefore, his father put this together for him. So amazing!


Odette December 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

*autistic child


Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian December 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Sketchie looks so cute!


Kimmy December 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Hehe I thought my husband and I were the only dorky ones who liked to wander around checking out the Christmas lights =)
That drink sounds like a great idea actually! I don’t drink coffee so I will work on adapting it.

It is very unfortunately about what has happened in Connecticut… so very sad.


Herbivore Triathlete December 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm

We like to drive around and look at the lights too, my kids look forward to it every year. In our town there is a HUGE display at my place of employment. We went to the lighting ceremony this year. My oldest dd video’d it on her phone, lol.

The hot cocoa would’ve been perfect that night, it was SO cold!


Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl December 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I have been looking for a vegan hot cocoa recipe, so I cannot wait to try this! :) Thanks!


Liz December 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm

That hot chocolate is a winner. It is nothing like a warm drink on a cold winter day, that is for sure. :)


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Mmm this sounds so delicious!! Isn’t it funny how Christmas lights can be equally as interesting, no matter if you’re 3 or 30? I was just in California for work and it was so funny to see all the same Christmas decorations that we have here on houses down there… only next to palm trees!


Lizzy @ Lizzy Lives in LA December 15, 2012 at 1:37 am

Mmmmmm this looks delicious! I will definitely be making this ASAP! Thanks Angela!


Cassidy December 15, 2012 at 3:37 am

Hey, Angela! Thanks for the recipe, I think you totally read my mind. I’ve been looking for something like this for a while. :) If we use almond milk instead, how would you suggest thickening it to be more like the coconut milk?


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 15, 2012 at 9:08 am

You might be able to add more cocoa powder or even chocolate? Cashew cream? Almond milk is fairly thick on its own so I’m sure it will still be tasty, just maybe a bit thinner.


jodye @ chocolate & chou fleur December 15, 2012 at 8:33 am

My boyfriend has such a fascination with lights (of all sorts, not Christmas lights in particular), so I certainly take advantage of that during the Christmas season. I love the idea of bringing along some hot cocoa – it would definitely make for a more festive experience, and being warmer is always a plus!


callah December 15, 2012 at 11:24 am

do you have a homemade vegan marshmallow recipe? i have to drive all the way to organic garage from Milton to get my hands on any, which makes it even more expensive!


Madison @ Pilates Makes You Happy December 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm

This was SO good, tried it last night! I love that every recipe on your blog is dairy free! Such a relief to not have to make adjustments and then wonder how it turns out.


Tanya @ playful and hungry December 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I want to have this right now! ;)


Vegan Radhika SArohia December 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Yesss delicious!! WIll be making this. Hot chocolate and coffee drinks are so awesome in cold weather

By the way my folks live in LA and have two dogs (shelter rescues) and their dogs have that EXACT same blanket seen in the pic with your cat. They had a red plaid version of that blanket too, it got donated to an animal hospital in SAnta Monica. Small world…randomly identical blankets and such hehe:D


Vegan Radhika SArohia December 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

By the way I heard your blog won some Veg Award or something, dunno exactly what that is but congrats!!:)


Raizel @ Sweet Pickled Reality December 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm

This looks amazing! I love coconut-based hot cocoa. I’d love a big mug right now! Your recipes always look delicious. I’m looking forward to trying some out soon!


Jaimie MacLeod December 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Super excited to try this creamy mocha hot chocolate! Thanks also for sharing Angela, I love your site, and the recipes you’ve posted. Look forward to many more to come!


Mia December 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm

I love this recipe! My cat Piago would appreciate it as well (he has been known to sneak a lick or two of coffee when no one is looking!)

And I love the way you turned a chilly moment into a warm cozy one.

I just made the move to Cali from Chicago this summer, and I’m already missing the frigid winters…can you believe it?! Well, it is 35 degrees here tonight, so I might need a cozy moment! Thanks for sharing!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm

our cat tries to drink beer but I dont think he’s ever gone for coffee! I know what you mean about missing the cold weather this time of the year…I felt the same when we lives in FL and GA for a few years. I wish it would just go away once Jan 2nd hit!


[email protected] December 18, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I hear ya Angela! After the festivities are over let the bathing suits roll in because I’m ready for summer!


Fashion-isha December 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm

This looks amazing I will have to try this. I’ve been lacto-vegan for a week and feel great. I am having a really hard time getting off the milk for my coffee. How’s coconut milk in coffee? And do you use maple syrup as a sweetner? Cool!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Hey Sharon, I personally use almond milk in coffee….it’s so creamy! Ive never been big on coconut milk in my tea or coffee but I know some who like it. I dont use sweetener in my tea coffee but maple syrup would be really nice.


Rebecca R December 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I make a similar version with almond milk but no coffee. I’ll have to try that! Also, where did you get those delightful glass mugs? They’re lovely.


Andrea December 15, 2012 at 11:45 pm

That sounds delicious.
Your photo of Sketchie makes me want a cat, and makes me miss the neighbourhood cat that we “share” until she stops coming around in winter (when she probably becomes an indoor cat).


Jun December 16, 2012 at 1:20 am

try adding a tablespoon or two of liquor to it if you’re ever going to have it chilled. its divine!


Lia @ Sojourning December 16, 2012 at 8:54 am

That is a really cute idea, what you two do. I hope that one day you carry it as a tradition to your future potential kids’ lives. You can never go wrong with a hot drink to warm you up on a cold night, though it is very brave of you to get in a cold car too! Hahaha, I’m such a baby about the cold. Putting some ginger powder and cinnamon in hot cocoa seems create heat in my body, which is great too!


Kimberly December 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

This was so good, I made it last night, along with your gingerbread with spiced buttercream frosting, and both were SO delicious. I am heartbroken over the CT tradgedy, and I thought it was so thoughtful of you to add that to your post. You seem like such a kind person. Merry Christmas :)


laura December 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Mmm was just thinking of how I haven’t had a mocha in forever!
I love walking in the neighbourhoods looking at all the pretty lights.


Emily December 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm

This looks so wonderfully delicious–perfect for this rainy, cold Sunday. I’m making it tout de suite!


Lisa December 17, 2012 at 6:57 am

Looks amazing! Missing some holiday recepies though Angela. Since you’re my favourite blogger i would love some


Anele @ Success Along the Weigh December 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

You guys sound just like us. I love looking at Christmas lights and you’ve reminded me that we haven’t dedicated a night to doing that only yet this season. That is going to be rectified tonight. Time is running out! (Oh yeah and I’m taking some of this yumminess with me!)


Sarah @ Yogi in Action December 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

I will be making this! Looks amazing!!


Gigi December 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Just made this for a treat tonight as I finish up some work and OH MY GOODNESS! This is really delicious. It is the perfect blend of chocolate and mocha… and not too bitter or sweet. I’m hoping my husband (who doesn’t like coffee) will love this one too. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe. It will be my go-to hot chocolate recipe for the season!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

Im so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know :)


Gigi December 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hubby loved it too… its a keeper!


Patti December 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

yummy! I was wondering what I would have for hot chocolate this year.


Amber from Slim Pickin's Kitchen December 19, 2012 at 10:12 am

Oh, my gosh! Coconut milk in hot chocolate?!? How *BRILLIANT*!!! Why have I never thought of this before?!? I also just adore driving around looking at Christmas lights! It really is so much fun. Now that I live in the middle of nowhere, it’s really hard for us to just drive around the neighborhood and check them out. Sad, but true. Also, what kind of kittles is Sketchie? He’s so beautiful and snuggly!


Cookie and Kate December 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I love how coconut milk makes rich, decadent hot chocolate without the need for cream. Beautiful photos, Angela!


Peter Burke December 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

This is such a great holiday cocoa recipe. I’m lactose intolerant so I appreciate the use of light coconut milk. Can’t wait to make it!


Sheri December 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Very yummy. Tried it with almond milk. Great afternoon pick-me-up!


Jules December 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I love hot chocolate, I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve been just heating up chocolate Almond Breeze in the microwave as a substitute up until now… it tastes great, for those who are interested in giving it a try :). Merry Christmas and thanks for the great recipes!


Tanya January 1, 2013 at 9:11 am

Wow….that mocha looks delicious! I rarely use coconut milk……do you think it would work with hemp milk, which seems creamier than almond or soy milk?


Cate June 7, 2013 at 1:28 am

I was looking for a dairy-free hot chocolate, as my partner follows paleo (despite my pleading; as a biologist and geneticist, I find most of paleo “science” is utter crap). I was sceptical, because last time I made a drink with coconut milk it was HORRID, and was certain I’d be throwing this down the sink. Was so thrilled when it turned out to be one of the most delicious hot drinks EVER. So happy to have something to drink during Australian winter, cheers!


Dez October 31, 2013 at 5:35 am

What about replacing the coffee? It might seem crazy to some, but I haven’t drank coffee in years. I don’t even keep it stocked in my pantry. If I’m expecting company I will go out and buy just enough fresh grind for my guests. So what can I replace it with in the spur of the moment if I don’t want to run out can buy coffee?


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 31, 2013 at 10:41 am

almond milk or black tea might be nice?


Jen @ The Well Read Fish January 10, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I finally made this! But, my mistake – I used instant espresso powder and stirred that right into the coconut milk…..completely omitting basically 1 cup of water. Let me tell you – you want rich!?!?!?


Caroline March 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

I made this last night but had some left over. I put it in the fridge and this morning added a frozen banana and some hemp seeds, then blended it to make a smoothie. It was awesome! A sweet and healthy morning pick me up!!


Ann September 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

My mom can’t eat processed sugar so I’m overjoyed I found this recipe!! Was wondering how much almond milk would be good for substituting the coconut milk. I’m so grateful for your website by the way!!!


Munirah February 6, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Hi! I have a question that sounds a bit weird, but can I use whole milk instead?!??


Angela (Oh She Glows) February 7, 2018 at 8:14 am

I haven’t tried it, but I would think any kind of milk should work! :)


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