Even though it’s been hovering around 80 degrees in Seattle the past couple of days, can we pretend for just a moment that it’s a brisk fall day?
I’ve been patiently awaiting the arrival of fall – for that first sign of chill in the air, the kind of light, crisp breeze that feels as flirtatious as it does anew. For the lustrous leaves that shed themselves creating an acoustic blanket of foliage along streets and sidewalks. For morning fog so capacious and sunsets that coat the evening with a glow more grand than gold.
In my kitchen you’ll find ingredients that are unspoken yet essential autumnal rights of passage.
Cardamom. Rosemary. Sage. Allspice. Cacao. Nutmeg. Cinnamon. Apples. Squash. Pumpkin. Cranberries. Oats. Pecans. Bordeaux’s.
While not all of these are specifically fall flavors and aromatics, for myself, they represent something that carries a rooted nostalgia. It represents staying cozy, steaming spiced cider fogging up my readers, culinary aromas that mimic those of my childhood, a thick sweater layered with a wool jacket, the warmth of coming home, new textbooks and the smell of freshly sharpened No. 2’s, clenching a hot coffee en route to class, shared meals, roaring fires and pumpkin-flavored and shaped everything.
To kick off fall here on my blog, I decided to start with something simple: hot chocolate. A classic staple that is the epitome of comfort and cozy. As I often do, I’ve created a recipe that’s slightly healthier than it’s conventional counterpart, but all without sacrificing that divinely indulgent and creamy palate.
- 12 oz unsweetened almond milk
- 1 heaping tablespoon of raw cacao powder
- 1-2 tablespoons of coconut sugar, honey or raw maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of sea salt
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan over high heat, using a wire whisk to break up any clumps. Continue to stir until smooth and piping hot, then pour into a mug and serve warm.
Notes from the kitchen:
- Raw cacao can be quite bitter so add more sweetener if desired.
- Omit honey and use coconut sugar or maple syrup for a vegan-friendly version.
- For an extra punch of flavor, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or cayenne pepper.