A not uncommon evening exchange in our household:
M: What’s for dessert?
Me: (blank look) uhhhhh…
It’s not that I’m somehow a healthier or more “virtuous” eater (whatever that even means these days), but I tend to overlook the dessert component when putting together the evening meal. There’s always fruit around, and most of the time, that’s plenty. There’s usually a bar of dark chocolate stashed in the kitchen too. But on the evening when neither of those are quite enough, and I haven’t got anything fancier laid in from a weekend baking session, this little concoction is our no-fuss ace in the hole.
We just refer to it as “chocolate almond milk”, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the same as anything coming out of a carton of chocolate-flavored almond milk you buy at the store. It’s thicker, creamier, more chocolatey, and generally a little more luxurious on the tongue. If you want it to be, it’s also much lower in sugar. I feel a little silly calling something this simple a recipe (so I’m not), but still, there is some technique involved. The next time you’re craving a chocolate dessert and can’t be bothered with anything involving heat, measurements, mixers, or bowls, try this.
-Almond milk (we use the unsweetened refrigerated vanilla variety from Trader Joe’s)
-Unsweetened cocoa powder (plan on 2-3 heaping spoonfuls per glass):
-1/2 ripe banana (optional)
-sweetener of your choice to taste (M is hardcore and eschews all sugar in his, regardless of whether or not a banana is involved. I like either banana or a little pinch of sugar, though I’m starting to come around to the totally unsweetened version).
-a few walnut halves, broken into pieces
Spoon cocoa powder into a large glass or mug. Pour in a small amount of almond milk (probably <1/4 c.). Begin stirring, pressing the cocoa into the sides of the glass (or mug) using the back of the spoon. Eventually the cocoa will mix with the milk, keep stirring until a thick paste is formed. Add a little more milk, keep stirring until the mixture is thick and smooth. A few lumps won't kill you, but the fewer the better–your final milk will be more creamy. Fill the glass about halfway with almond milk and stir again. At this point, you can either add more almond milk to make a full glass, or start slicing in that banana. If you are skipping the banana, give the mixture a taste and add sweetener as desired. If you are using the banana, start slicing it in. Stir around every few slices to make sure you're getting in as much banana as possible. When the banana is all sliced up or the glass is full (whichever comes first), stop adding banana (if you have leftover banana, save it and dunk into the glass once the fill level descends to something safe). If you are adding nuts, now's the time for those to go in as well.
The best way to eat this dessert is with a spoon, fishing out pieces of chocolate coated banana, or just slurping up mouthfuls of thick chocolate milk. Be sure to scrape out all that extra-thick chocolate sludge at the bottom too, it's the best part: