Hot vanilla: alternative to hot chocolate

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We’re all about really simple snacks and desserts here at Snappy Living, but some of us are all about avoiding refined sugar and corn syrup these days, too. Random experiments in the kitchen have revealed something delicious that fulfills all our requirements, and we’re calling it “hot vanilla.” It’s basically the same principle as hot chocolate, except easier to make and, well, vanilla.

Hot vanilla: alternative to hot chocolate

Recipe

  • Milk or substitute
  • honey
  • vanilla extract

Fill a mug with milk. Heat it in the microwave for probably about one minute. Stir in some honey to taste – find the sweetness level you like. Now add a little bit of vanilla extract to taste – I usually just pour the smallest amount I can straight from the bottle (Trader Joe’s makes a nice Bourbon Vanilla Extract with no corn syrup – and yes, you do have to watch for corn syrups in extracts), stir it, then add some more if I want.

The result is the most incredibly rich-tasting vanilla drink. It is seriously fabulous, and healthy to boot. You can use a non-dairy type of milk – I would recommend almond milk because almonds have lots of nutrients and it’s already a little sweet, but anything you like will work. In fact, if you’re using a milk substitute, you may not even need honey. But honey is also nutritious. The only thing not particularly nutritious is the vanilla extract, but you use only a tiny bit of it and if you buy the right stuff, it’s not unhealthy.

This has become my new evening treat. I drink it several nights a week, and it actually helps me sleep better (my doctor recommends milk before bed for insomnia). It’s lower calorie than a lot of treats you might opt for, so it’s great if you’re trying to satisfy a sweet tooth without eating something you know isn’t good for you. And it’s almost as easy as ripping open a package of chips or pulling the lid off a carton of ice cream.

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