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Cocoa and Cinnamon – 'Tis the Season

As the holiday season approaches and the Northern Hemisphere enters winter, below are cocoa (Theobroma cacao, Malvaceae, formerly Sterculiaceae) (See HC 061335-484) and cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, Lauraceae) (See HC 101321-484) recipes to celebrate and help keep warm.

Cinnamon Cocoa Coated Almonds

1 cup raw unsalted almonds

2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. honey or agave nectar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pinch sea salt

Mix cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sea salt together in a food processor. Pour into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Set aside. Over very low heat, stir almonds, honey, and vanilla until just coated. Note: The almonds should not be heated; the very low heat is just to make the honey liquefy better to easily coat the almonds. Pour almonds into the bag with the cocoa powder mixture. Seal the bag, and shake until almonds are well coated. Store in an airtight container.

Mexican Hot Cocoa

4 cups whole milk

1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients over medium heat, whisking constantly, until hot but not boiling, about 8 minutes (the mixture should smooth). Pour into 4 large mugs.

Warm Cacao with Cinnamon – for a healthier, raw version of cocoa

1 cup almond milk

1-2 tbsp. raw cacao

1 tbsp. (or less) raw honey or agave

dash of cinnamon (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a blender, which will thicken it nicely. Warm to 116º F, using candy thermometer to gauge temperature. Remove from heat before it gets to temperature as it will continue to heat even after the heat source is removed.

Lori Glenn,  Managing Editor