Homemade hot chocolate mix makes a delicious gift to give, but take it to the next level and turn this sweet treat into a decadent and nourishing treat by creating an herbal infused hot chocolate mix. Herbs, like rose petals, mint, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne, add additional flavors to this comforting drink while imparting some mild health benefits, too!
This basic hot chocolate mix can be customized to your or your gift recipient's favorite flavors or needed health benefits and makes the perfect soothing, comforting, and warming gift for the holiday season.
How Hot Chocolate Can Be a Superfood
You might think that hot chocolate is a treat best enjoyed in moderation. But when made from scratch without all the preservatives and processed additives and the right herbs added, hot chocolate can be a superfood!
Chocolate dark chocolate, in particular, contains antioxidants that have been shown to improve heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of blood clotting, and increasing blood circulation to the heart. The flavonols in dark chocolate can help to prevent the immune system from going into overdrive while reducing oxidative stress, and they can also have a positive impact on brain function, including better reaction time, visual-spatial awareness, and stronger memory.
No matter what type of chocolate you choose for this recipe, just remember that the higher the cocoa content, the more beneficial flavonols it contains. For the highest health benefits, aim for chocolate with at least 70% cacao content; that way, even without adding medicinal herbs, you’ve got the makings of a superfood.
Leveling Up Hot Chocolate With Herbs
While homemade hot chocolate can be a guilt-free drink when it’s made with quality ingredients, adding herbs to the mix takes it to a whole new level! And, even though herbal infused hot chocolate sounds fancy, it’s really simple to make. The base recipe calls for five basic pantry staples, and you can add any herb combination you like based on flavor profile or desired health benefits.
Herbs to Infuse Hot Chocolate With
The best herbs to infuse hot chocolate with are often commonly enjoyed in herbal teas, but here are some great options to get you thinking.
Rose is a favorite addition to make your hot chocolate mix feel extra special. It adds a very subtle flavor that compliments the chocolate perfectly. Medicinally, rose can help reduce anxiety, improve digestion, and reduce inflammation. Always use organic rose petals that are listed as “food grade.”
Lavender is wonderfully relaxing and a favorite pre-bedtime favorite. Its subtle flavor is calming without overpowering the chocolate. Medicinally, lavender can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and aid digestion.
Ginger is a wonderful warming herb that goes a long way toward heating you from the inside out. Medicinally, ginger is excellent for soothing the stomach and reducing nausea.
Mint gives you that classic mint chocolate taste. For a milder mint flavor, try spearmint. Medicinally, peppermint too is great for stomach ailments and digestion, as well as headaches and easing sinus congestion.
Sage may not be an herb you’d initially think about adding to hot chocolate, but it gives the cocoa a complex herby flavor and makes it a great metal pick-me-up. Medicinally, sage can fight against inflammation and reduce oxidative stress.
Holy basil or Tulsi
When added to chocolate, Holy basil adds an almost fruity taste and gives you a bit of adaptogenic goodness. Medicinally, Holy Basil can help to reduce pain and swelling and may even lower blood pressure, making it the perfect addition for a person with diabetes who still wants a sweet treat. Switch out the sugar in the recipe for a sugar substitute, and you have a winner!
Chamomile is no stranger to the hot beverage lover. In chocolate, it lends a sweet, apple-like taste, similar to its lovely scent. It makes a great addition to a bedtime cup as medicinally, it is best known as an insomnia reliever. This lovely little flower may also reduce inflammation as an added bonus.
While ashwagandha doesn’t have a particularly nice flavor on its own, it adds a deep, earthy flavor and calming adaptogenic properties to hot chocolate. Medicinally, ashwagandha is great for improving the mind and mental clarity. A cup of ashwagandha hot chocolate would make the perfect start to the day.
Maca is an excellent addition to herbal hot chocolate as it imparts a malt or caramel-like flavor. Medicinally, Maca is known for reducing blood pressure, improving mood, aiding fertility, and increasing libido.
You could also use any of the herbs on our list of Winter warming herbs!
Making Herbal Infused Hot Chocolate Mix
This mix is simple to prepare using basic ingredients, and you can make the base in as large a quantity as you like and add different herbal blends for different recipients!
2 cups Powdered sugar (use a sugar substitute for low-carb or diabetic-friendly)
1 ½ cup of Cocoa powder
1 cup of Milk Powder
3 oz Grated High-quality Chocolate
2 tbsp Cornstarch
2 tablespoons of ground Dried Herbs (see below.)
Optional Herbal Blends
Here are some blend ideas to get you started. Once you’ve tried a few, you can adjust them to taste and preference or make your own.
Ginger Rose: 2 tablespoons (food grade) rose petals and a pinch of dried ginger
Cinna-mint: 1 ½ tablespoons of dried crushed mint leaf and 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
Lavender Sage: 1 tablespoon lavender buds and one tablespoon crushed sage
Chamomile Basil: 1 tablespoon of chamomile blossoms with 1 tablespoon of crushed holy basil
Start by grating your chocolate with a fine grater or food processor.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl – powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk powder, grated chocolate, cornstarch, and herbs or spices.
Work with a whisk until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Store the finished mix in an air-tight container, or bottle them up in pretty mason jars to give as gifts.
Add 3 tbsp chocolate mix to boiling water and stir to dissolve. Boiling water activates the cornstarch, making the hot chocolate thick and creamy. Top with grated chocolate chips, additional herbs, or marshmallows, and enjoy!
Keys to Good Herbal Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is a simple thing to make from scratch, but there are a couple of keys to making it even better.
Good Quality Chocolate
Start with a high-quality chocolate, not the stuff you find in the baking aisle. Look for bars with the highest cacao content you can find. You want quality chocolate that is free of artificial colors or flavors. You can use white, dark, or milk chocolate.
When selecting herbs and spices for this recipe, always look for organic and food grade. Make sure to pay attention to the quality here. This is an indulgent treat, so go ahead and splurge.
Milk or Alternative of Choice
The milk can be any of your choice – cow, goat, coconut, almond, rice, etc., etc. Again, use something you would drink straight from the glass.
So Much Chocolatey Goodness!
Herbal-infused hot chocolate is such a decadent treat and makes a wonderfully unique holiday gift to give. If you make it, be sure to tell us all about it in the comments below, and tag us in your Instagram pics with @thisunboundlife.blog or #byersranchlove. Until next time,