This vegan frozen hot chocolate is thick, frothy, and of course chocolate-y. You can serve it plain or with some shaved chocolate and/or coconut whipped cream. For a nice little extra touch, you can also pre-dip all your glasses in melted chocolate and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
The concept of Frozen Hot Chocolate was made famous by a New York’s famous Serendipity 3 restaurant. Yes, the very restaurant that became a hot spot for New York’s hipster crowd. Marilyn Monroe was a regular. A young Andy Warhol used to pay his tab with pictures, so the story goes. And First Lady Jackie Kennedy apparently tried to buy the signature Frrrozen Hot Chocolate recipe for one of her events.
The Serendipity’s signature frozen hot chocolate mix contains 14 of the world’s rarest and most expensive cocoas from Africa and South America, milk, ice cubes, whipped cream, and shavings from the world’s most expensive truffle, the La Madeline au Truffle ($2,500 a pound). Even with the price tag of $13 for a cup, Serendipity 3 recently served its 25 millionth Frrrozen Hot Chocolate!
It wouldn’t be a complete post about frozen hot chocolate if I didn’t mention the high-end version of Frrrozen Hot Chocolate called the Frrrozen Haute Chocolate. While this $25,000.00 version is no longer on the menu, it remains the world’s most expensive dessert by Guinness World Records. It was served in a baccarat Harcourt crystal goblet with an 18 carat gold and white diamond bracelet attached to the neck and further laced with 23-carat edible gold. The dessert was a blend of 28 cocoas and five grams of 24-carat gold. The chocolate was topped with whipped cream and – what else? – more gold. It was garnished with La Madeline au Truffle and came with a $14,000 jewel-encrusted spoon. (1)
Disregarding the price tag, the lead time for an order was two weeks! So … maybe we should make our own? Here is a recipe for cheaper and faster vegan frozen hot chocolate.
Tips for Making Vegan Frozen Hot Chocolate
The best (frozen) hot chocolate always starts with high-quality real chocolate. I use my own tempered chocolate, but you can use any chocolate you like, homemade or store-bought. (If you’re going for vegan frozen hot chocolate, make sure your chocolate is plant-based).
A high-quality brand of cacao powder or cocoa powder also makes a difference. I get often asked what the difference between cacao and cocoa is. The truth is that the use of “cacao” versus “cocoa” on chocolate products is inconsistent. Generally speaking, raw cacao powder is made from fermented, dried, unroasted cacao beans. Cocoa powder is made similarly to cacao, except that it’s heated at a higher temperature during processing. To make things even more complex, there are actually two types of cocoa powder – natural and Dutch-processed. Dutch-processed cocoa powder has been processed with an alkalized solution, which makes it less acidic and higher in richness. Regular cocoa powder, just like raw cacao powder, is more acidic and has a bitter taste.
To offset the bitter taste of cacao powder, I used Medjool dates. While any sweetener will work in this recipe, I used dates very intentionally. Not only do dates act as a sweetener, but they also help thicken the frozen hot chocolate while keeping it light.
I opted for homemade cashew milk as the base because its flavor profile is very mild. When made at home with just water and cashews, it tastes plain — in the best way possible. It’s a a little sweet, and only a little bit nutty. Other plant-based milks are certainly an option, but most of them come with their peculiarities. Almond milk tastes exceptionally nutty, soy milk tastes too beany, and coconut milk tastes like a sweet, floral tropical island. Rice milk would probably be the best alternative, but I would still blend it with some cashews to add creaminess.
To create the frozen slushy texture, you’ll need some ice. I didn’t want to water the frozen hot chocolate down too much, so I simply froze some of the cashew milk into ice cubes. Even with the cashew milk, the frozen hot chocolate does have a slushy texture (because the main ingredient in any plant-based milk is still water). If you want frozen hot chocolate with more of a creamy texture, you’ll need to substitute some of the cashew milk ice cubes with a frozen banana, frozen mango, silken tofu, or plant-based yogurt.
Since we’re working with melted chocolate and ice, you can’t just throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend because the melted chocolate will immediately freeze. So, the first step is mixing the plant-based milk, cacao powder, and melted chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat. Actually, the very first step is mixing the cacao powder with just a small part of the cashew milk to create a thick mixture. If you try mixing the cacao powder with the entire amount of the cashew milk, the cacao powder will kind of just float on top.
Once you have the chocolate mixture ready, make sure you cool it down completely. (You don’t want the cashew milk ice cubes melt as soon as they come into contact with the chocolate mixture!)
The last step is just putting all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth. The frozen hot chocolate should be thick but pourable. It should be both creamy and slushy.
A fun addition to this frozen hot chocolate are chocolate chips (straciatella style). Straciatella is Italian for “shreds,” and in ice cream terms it means a drizzle of melted chocolate swirled into churning ice cream/frozen chocolate. The chocolate first sets into snappy ribbons, which then break into chips. As the chips hit your mouth, they turn velvety and soft, offering a great variety of textures.
Tools You’ll Need
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This vegan frozen hot chocolate is thick, frothy, and of course chocolate-y. You can serve it plain or with some shaved chocolate and/or coconut whipped cream. For a nice little extra touch, you can also pre-dip all your glasses in chocolate and store them in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
Mix the cacao powder with a tiny bit of almond milk, creating a thin paste (to help the cacao powder dissolve properly).
Add all the cashew milk, dark chocolate, and cacao paste into a small saucepan and warm it up over medium heat. Continue stirring the mixture until the chocolate has completely melted.
Place the chocolate mixture into the refrigerator to cool completely.
Transfer the cooled chocolate mixture in a high speed blender along with the Medjool dates and cashew milk ice cubes and blend until smooth. The frozen hot chocolate should be thick, but pourable. If it's too thick, add more milk. If it's too thin, add more milk ice cubes.
If you want to add a little bit more texture to the frozen hot chocolate, slowly pour some melted dark vegan chocolate into the frozen hot chocolate as it's blending. The melted chocolate will set into snappy ribbons, which will then break into chips.
Pour into glasses and top with shaved chocolate or coconut whipped cream if desired. Serve immediately.
*You can use any plant-based milk you like, but I prefer cashew milk because its flavor profile is very mild. It's a a little sweet, and only a little bit nutty. Other plant-based milks are certainly an option, but most of them come with their peculiarities. Almond milk tastes exceptionally nutty, soy milk tastes too beany, and coconut milk tastes like a sweet, floral tropical island. Rice milk would probably be the best alternative, but I would still blend it with some cashews to add creaminess.