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Vegan Comfort Food: Nutella-Inspired Hot Chocolate

I've been seeing recipes for hot chocolate featuring Nutella floating around the internet, so I decided to 1) make a vegan version of the popular chocolate-hazelnut spread and 2) make a decadent hot chocolate with it! This recipe also contains a very simple recipe for scratch chocolate date syrup--because what's hot chocolate without all of the works? But feel free to use a store-bought spread and/or syrup.
I admit, this is one of the more involved non-juice drink recipes I've made, which is to say, this recipe an event in and of itself! If you plan to make it for company, I suggest preparing the Nutella-inspired spread and the date chocolate syrup ahead of time, so you only have to heat up the milk and blend it with the spread when you're ready to serve the hot chocolate.
Although we haven't had much cold (or even cool) weather in Corpus Christi, I can envision sipping this decadent cocoa by the fireside while watching favorite holiday movies. (I *bet* this Nutella-inspired hot chocolate would pair well with stove-popped popcorn! There is only one way to find out...)

Vegan Comfort Food: Nutella-Inspired Hot Chocolate


Recipe Type: Beverages Sweets
YIELDS4-6 servings
PREP TIME
COOK TIME
TOTAL TIME
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  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet vegan baking chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 dates, pitted
  • vegan milk of choice (I used coconut)*
  • vegan marshmallows for garnish
  • dusting of cocoa powder for garnish
  • chocolate chips for garnish
  • stevia or liquid sweetener of choice (optional)
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Directions

*Adjust milk quantity depending on how many servings you're making. A standard single serving is 12oz./ 1.5 cups milk (same size as Starbucks' "Tall"). If you're serving four people, you'll need about six cups milk.
1. Place hazelnuts on a roasting sheet. Roast at 300°F for 12 minutes. Remove and allow hazelnuts to cool.
2. Remove the skin from the hazelnuts. Add hazelnuts to a high-speed blender or food processor. Process until the nuts form a butter. You may have to scrape down the sides of the blender as you go.
3. Melt the vegan baker's chocolate in the microwave or over the stove top on a low setting. Add melted chocolate, sea salt, and vanilla to blender (with hazelnut butter). Blend until well combined. Sweeten with liquid sweetener of choice. (I used 8 drops of liquid stevia.) Decant chocolate hazelnut butter into a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Simmer pitted dates in 2 cups of water for three minutes. Spoon dates into the blender. Add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Then add 10-12 tablespoons of the hot cooking water. Blend until you read a syrupy consistency. (Add more water by the spoonful if necessary). Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
5. Heat milk using your preferred method. Add warmed milk to blender and 2 tablespoons of chocolate hazelnut spread per serving. (So four servings would require 8 tablespoons of the spread). Blend until well-combined and frothy.
6. Pour into mugs and garnish with marshmallows, cocoa powder, chocolate date syrup, and chocolate chips. Enjoy!

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