Try a comforting, spiritual take on cocoa with Vegan at Home

This ceremonial cacao drink is just as chocolatey as other versions, but it's made without animal products

In her new book, Vegan at Home,  Solla Eiríksdóttir, the Icelandic chef, TV star and author cuts out all the meat and dairy from her recipes, but goes heavy on the stuff we all crave from food - deep enjoyment.

As she explains in her new book, Vegan at Home provides delicious, easy-to-prepare, fun and satisfying  recipes for vegan pantry basics that are the foundation for simple everyday vegan dishes - breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and dinner - as well as meals with friends, and larger celebrations.

Even her version of drinking chocolate has hidden depths. “Ceremonial cacao is sold in most health food stores, yoga centers, and online,” she explains. It is made by fermenting and sundrying (or toasting at a low temperature) the cacao bean to cultivate the flavour and activate some nutrients, then it’s stone ground, creating a paste, and formed into a block.”

This might sound like an unusual way to treat the raw ingredients of chocolate, but as Solla explains, this style of preparation actually predates our western confectionery.

“This ceremonial drink has been enjoyed for thousands of years—it is said to have been around in 1500 BC, and a stable in the ceremonies of Mayan and Aztec cultures—as it’s very nutritious (it is rich in magnesium, copper, calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorous) and pure without any artificial ingredients added to it” she writes.

The truly original recipe is a bit bitter, so Solla has added dates to her version, and she invites readers to add their own favourite There are actually two different versions of this recipe in Vegan at Home – one made with  plant milks, and one without.

To make the plant-milk one, you’ll need ½ cup (2 oz/50 g) ceremonial cacao powder; a cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) of oat milk, or plant-based milk of choice, as well as half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, half a teaspoon ground cardamom, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract; a quarter teaspoon of sea salt flakes, and a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper, as well as two Medjool dates, pitted (stoned).

To make it, you put the cacao powder into a blender with all remaining ingredients, except the oat milk,  and add 2/3 cup (5 fl oz/150 ml) hot water. “If you have a milk frother, use it to foam the milk, then add the milk to the blender and blend until smooth,” says Solla. “If you don’t have a milk frother, you can heat the milk in a saucepan until warm, then add it to the blender. Enjoy.” For her plant-milk-free version as well as much more besides, order a copy of The Vegan at Home here.