It’s below freezing in Charlottesville this week. And just a couple of days ago I saw some very confused robins poking around my backyard. My blueberry bushes want to leaf out. There’s still a pile of unmelted snow at the end of my street. My camellia bush is itching to pop into full powdery pink glory. This morning the buds were donning a ruff of lacy frost. In this full-on climate madness, disparate and beautiful and strange, I find myself drawn to combining seasonal opposites. Cooked food and raw food. Summer fruit and winter grains. Even coconut water and cocoa. Opposites that somehow work together beautifully.
Over the weekend I developed this awesomely delicious, easy coconut water hot chocolate recipe using ZICO’s new 100% chilled natural coconut water. I’d had chilled chocolate coconut water before. So I figured, why not go hot with it?
If it’s not already vastly apparent, I absolutely love coconut water. I’m a certifiable snob. I mean, not all coconut water is created equal my friends. Plenty of coconut water out there has added sugar or artificial flavors. I only trust labels that list 1 ingredient: 100% pure coconut water. Which is the reason I usually go for whole, fresh Thai coconuts (which amazingly we can get here at the Charlottesville Whole Foods). I just stick a straw in one of those bad boys and start sipping.
But what’s really been blowing my mind is that the coconut water in ZICO natural chilled coconut water tastes just like the delicious water you get straight out of a young Thai coconut! I say this with the utmost seriousness, y’all. (And yes this is a sponsored post, but that is my unsolicited opinion.) It tastes good and it’s good for you. Plus it’s naturally sweet and low glycemic without any added sugars or sweeteners. Of the top three coconut water brands, ZICO is the only one that has just one ingredient: 100% coconut water with no sugar added. Which I think is a vote for a better world, personally. But that’s just me.
Fun facts about coconut water!
- Most of the sugar in coconut water is glucose. Glucose is immediately used as fuel by the body. And it’s not addictive like it’s brother fructose (e.g. what makes table sugar sweet and evil). Fructose is stored as fat. Glucose is burned as fuel. Fructose is addictive and causes cravings and crashes. Glucose is not addictive and is processed evenly by the body.
- Coconut water contains 5 naturally occurring electrolytes, which makes it better at rehydrating your body than water. It’s a great post workout drink. And it’s certainly excellent for those folks who find themselves easily dehydrated.
- Because coconut water is similar to human blood plasma it was used intravenously during a WWII medical emergency because medical grade saline was unavailable! It’s still used as such in rare medical emergencies when saline isn’t available.
Coconut Water Hot Chocolate
I’ve been playing around with different vegan hot chocolate recipes for a while. I’ve tried just about every variation I can think of — I’ve used every nut and seed milk, sweetener and chocolate out there. But I’d never tried it with coconut water! So when ZICO contacted me about creating a recipe with their new 100% chilled coconut water I figured the time was right to give it a go.
After coffee and some early morning stretching, I put a pot of this coconut water hot chocolate on and have it around all day as a pick me up. It’s a natural, energizing mood booster. And it only takes 5 minutes to prep. It’s a win win!
ZICO’s natural chilled coconut water is naturally sweet so it barely needs any sweetener at all. I added just a bit of maple syrup. Plus some coconut cream to thicken it up and give it a more viscous quality. This hot cocoa leans towards the lighter side, so it’s perfect for sipping at any time of day.
When I make this for myself I tend to add a teaspoon each of maca and lucuma to the pot. I like the little nutrition boost. And the lucuma gives the hot chocolate a smidgen of caramel-sweetness. Perfect for a post blizzard trek!
If you try out the recipe, leave me a comment or tag me on instagram so I can see! I love getting your feedback, my friends. xo
- 2 cups ZICO natural chilled coconut water
- 1 ounce (60 grams) dark chocolate, 75% or higher
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 5-6 tablespoons coconut cream, skimmed from the top of a can of full fat coconut milk
- In a small sauce pot over medium high heat, combine the coconut water, chocolate, maple syrup and coconut cream. Warm the mixture until hot to the touch and steaming, then cut off the heat (avoid simmering). Using an immersion blender, immerse the blender wand in the mixture and blend the ingredients together for a couple of seconds until emulsified. The cocoa will get foamy, creamy and smooth. Serve immediately!