This recipe is an excerpt from my Natural Cocktails e-book, which is perfect for the homemade mixologist who doesn’t want any fake colors or flavors in their cocktails.  I use this shortbread recipe as a garnish for one of the cocktails in the book.  And I think this peppermint hot cocoa would be amazing with a little Creme de Menthe added to it.There is a line in The Polar Express where the narrator talks about the children on the train drinking hot cocoa “as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars”.  I always imagined what that might be like, snuggled up in my jammies on a magical train ride to the North Pole.  Immediately after making this cup of hot chocolate I was transported to that imagery again. This hot cocoa looks exactly like what I pictured as a child when I read that line in the book.  Paired with a simple homemade shortbread cookie, this is one of the most decadent yet subtlely sweet treats that I have made this season.All you need for an excellent shortbread are clean, wholesome ingredients.  They will speak for you without any frills as long as you buy quality butter, salt, flour, and whole sweetener.  Grass-fed butter, yellow and nutrient-dense with vitamin K2.  Almond flour, ground fine with a gentle and slight natural sweetness.  Sea salt, unrefined with trace minerals still in tact.  Raw honey, fragrant and sweet.  Coconut flour, powdery and dense providing a crumbly texture in our cookie.

Ever since I discovered the simplicity of the shortbread cookie I have been a fan of it’s buttery richness and slightly salty crunch.  I love to keep shortbread basic, without even any vanilla in the dough.  My favorite shortbread cookie was made with sprouted flour originally, but since starting GAPS nine months ago I have found this almond flour to be the new front runner.  It has a nice subtle sweetness to it that I prefer.

Grain-Free Shortbread
makes one 9-inch round shortbread, cut into 12 wedges

1 3/4 cups almond flour (buy almond flour here)
1/4 cup coconut flour (buy coconut flour here)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (buy unrefined sea salt here)
1/4 cup honey (buy unfiltered raw honey here)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold, cut into small pieces (buy grass-fed butter here)
1 teaspoon vanilla (buy organic extracts here)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Generously butter a 9-inch round pan or a glass pie plate.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, and salt.  Pour honey over the top.  Add diced butter.  With a pastry blender, or with your hands, combine ingredients until they form small crumbs the size of peas.
  3. Press crumbly dough into the buttered pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the edges are nice and golden brown and the middle is set.  While still warm, cut the wheel of cookie into wedges with a sharp knife.  Let cool completely.
  5. Cut the wedges one more time to make sure they are completely loose.  Using a small spatula, lift the wedges out of the pan and serve.  Dip into peppermint hot cocoa, below.

Coconut milk hot cocoa laced with peppermint extract is an intoxicating contradiction of hot liquid and cooling mint oils.  Bitter cocoa powder is coaxed to play nicely with the touch of raw honey, and because coconut milk naturally contains coconut cream and coconut oil, the warmed and blended cocoa is very smooth and thick.

Use the best quality ingredients you can find, so that they will stand up on their own and create an experience as you consume them, not just sustainance.  Organic cocoa powder should not be processed with alkali (also called “Dutch-process”) like it’s commercial counterparts.

Coconut Milk Peppermint Hot Cocoa
serves 2
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (find coconut milk here)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (find cocoa powder here)
1/4 cup raw honey (find raw honey here)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (find clean organic extracts here)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (find extracts here)
  1. In a saucepan, gently heat coconut milk until warm.  Whisking constantly, gradually add cocoa powder and whisk until completely absorbed.  Add honey and stir until fully incorporated.  Add peppermint and vanilla, stirring to combine.
  2. Remove from heat and pour into heavy-bottomed mugs.  Serve with shortbread wedges, or another tea cookie or two.
See my resources page for more information about quality ingredients like vanilla and peppermint extracts and truly unrefined sea salt with all it’s trace minerals present.
Note: I am marking this recipe as vegan and dairy-free since you can make the cookies with coconut oil.  Enjoy!