Sunday, April 26, 2015

Healthy chocolate milk you can feel good about giving your kids!

I admit it.  I'm a coconut fiend.  I love all things coconut.  The water, the milk, the oil, the flesh.  

I drink it, I bake with it, I cook with it, I use it for diaper rash cream, I rubbed it on my belly to prevent stretch marks, I put it in body lotion, I wash and condition my hair with it.  Why it has never occurred to me to make chocolate coconut milk before, I have no idea.  But after a recent trip to Costco where my 2-year old sucked down three free samples of chocolate almond milk in record time, I knew I had to make something myself that would be a) healthier, and b) cheaper.  

So why not just make chocolate almond milk?  Um, did you miss my opening statement?  Plus, coconut is a helluva lot cheaper than almonds.  So let's begin!

Unsweetened shredded coconut
Unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao if you can find it)
Pure maple syrup or agave
Optional:  pure vanilla and/or sea salt
Also optional:  a few spinach leaves

  • Add 4 cups of water and 2 cups of coconut to a high speed blender.
  • (One bag of the coconut I bought is exactly two cups.)  
  • Mix on high for a good minute or two.
  • Strain the pulp out using a fine mesh sieve, a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, even coffee filters.  I used my well-used nut milk bag, which is now purple due to straining elderberry syrup through it once last winter.  It's honestly not as grungy as it looks, I promise.

Adding spinach is totally optional.  It really has no taste if you use a small amount but it does make the chocolate milk turn a bit green if you use too much.  So just add a few leaves.  Once you add the cocoa and the other ingredients if it's still too green you can always add a smidge more cocoa.

I just put my bag inside the pitcher like so and pour it in.

This is the lazy way to strain.  Just hang it from your cabinet handles and let gravity do the work, especially if you used hot water and now the bag is too $#@! hot to touch.  Not that I'd know this from personal experience or anything.

After it's cool enough to handle, squeeze the bag until you get all the coconut milk out that you possibly can.  

NOW STOP!  If you want, you can put this in the fridge as is and have coconut milk to use for all sorts of things.  Use it in thai recipes like this one, or make your own shampoo like this. Or continue on to make chocolate coconut milk.

Rinse out the Vitamix container to get rid of the pulp bits, pour your strained coconut milk back in, and add the following ingredients.

This is HIGHLY subjective, I should add.  You can tweak the amount of chocolate and sweetness to your own liking.  I started with 1 tablespoon of each and kept tasting until I liked it.  Feel free to do the same.

1-3 tbsp maple syrup
1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt

I used 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and 2 of cocoa powder after starting with 1 each and tasting.  The result is pretty sweet and very chocolately.  In all honesty I would use less cocoa next time if I were the only one drinking it.  One tablespoon, or 1 1/2 would be plenty for me.  It's also very sweet but I am making this to compete with store-bought chocolate milk, so my plan is to use a little less next time, and the next and the next until I'm down to 1 tbsp of maple syrup.

Now you may be wondering, does it taste like coconut?  Heck yeah, it tastes like coconut!  It's delicious.  And it's good for you! Yes, coconut is high in fat but it's a heart healthy fat and you need those.  I'm no nutritionist but here's what I found in my research:

  • Dark chocolate may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Cocoa powder has even more of the substances responsible for chocolate’s health benefits
  •  Unsweetened cocoa has the advantage of being low in calories*
  • The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk may aid weight loss and improve heart health
  • Coconut milk contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties
  • Coconut milk is highly nutritious when ingested
  • The fatty acids in coconut milk are a natural antiseptic and may help treat dandruff, skin infections, wounds and dry, itchy skin.**

Blend on a low speed for about 30 seconds.  If your mixture gets very foamy, turn the speed to level 4 or until the vortex in the middle just starts to form.  It's like a tunnel straight up and down in the center of the liquid.  Blend until all the bubbles pop, maybe 30 seconds.  I like a little foam so I didn't bother, as you can see in my photo.  And it was warm from using hot water so it almost was like a mocha coconut cappuccino.  Oh, hello!!!  Move over, Starbucks.  No, seriously.  Those are over 400 calories.

This should last about 4-6 days in the fridge.  This recipe yielded about 4 cups of chocolate milk.  I estimate it cost $1.50 to make.  My coconut was $1.25 for the bag, and the other ingredients cost pennies so maybe $1.50 for the batch. 

I typed in the recipe at and here's what it told me for a one cup serving.  

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!  Pour that coconut pulp onto a cookie sheet and dehydrate it, then grind it up in the blender to make coconut flour.  When I buy coconut flour it's always off white/yellow.  But it's snowy white when I make it at home.  Freaks me out a little, you know?  I mean, what are they adding to the flour to make it change color like that?  The preservatives?  Yuk.  Just dry it, put it in a baggie in the pantry, and add to it every time you make coconut milk.  In no time you'll have lots of coconut flour to use for gluten free baking.

Want to know more about my coconut milk shampoo and conditioner recipes?  Comment below if you want a post about those too.



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