Not sure what it's like where you are today, but the snow showed up this morning here in our part of the world. At school drop off this morning, had a chance for a quick visit and chat with a few parents and we got to talking hot chocolate. And coffee. And tea. And all things warming. And I thought well it's high time we figure out a way to make some yummy hot chocolate that can impart some superpowers in the process. (*not documented nor measured superpowers yet. The lab results haven't come in yet...) Enter: THE SUPER CHARGED HOT CHOCOLATE.

This is a variation on a super delicious Pumpkin Chaga Latte dreamed up by one of the loveliest of the lovelies, Angela Bewick whose face you may recognize if you are a frequent Amaranther. (Make sure to click on that recipe and try it out, it's most delicious!) So thank you Angela for having inoculated me into the world of medicinal mushrooms and started me on this journey of super charging foods. 

If at the sight of the word 'mushrooms' you are contemplating veering away from the blog, I say don't! There is no taste of mushrooms to these kinds of bevies, I assure you. The mushrooms impart minimal flavour to the concoction, but what they do share are these superpowers, helping support your immune system, your adrenals, providing a fabulous amount of antioxidants assisting your body and liver in keeping good working order and reducing free radical damage. One of my favourite things about these medicinal mushrooms is the research that is showing how supportive they can be for someone undergoing radiation or any kind of cancer treatment. For a full write up on the benefits of the mushrooms in today's recipe, you may want to check this page for Chaga mushrooms, and this page for the benefits of consuming Reishi mushroom tea. Know that there is no caffeine in these mushrooms, so this is a good kid-friendly tea.

THE PRELIMINARY: (I did these yesterday)

  • Roast your leftover jack-o-lanterns at 375F for an hour and 10 minutes or until soft, set aside to cool. Scoop out the pulp away from the skin, and blitz in a food processor or with an immersion wand.
  • Put up 6 cups of filtered water with 5 slices of Reishi mushrooms and 1 tbsp of Chaga mushrooms, bring to a simmer and put a lid on, let it simmer on low for a minimum of 6 hours. 

Where to find the mushrooms:  your favourite local health food store; if you're in Calgary, you can also find some at The Light Cellar in Bowness.

VARIATIONS: you can use canned pumpkin instead of roasting your own. If you do end up roasting your pumpkins, store the leftovers in ice cube trays, and tuck them in ice cube sized portions in freezer bags for easy retrieval when you will make this super charged hot chocolate in the coming winter months. (A super-full ice cube equals roughly 2 tbsp of puree). I tuck them in freezer bags to use in sauces, soups and to thicken things or to add fibre, nutrients and a hint of sweet to a dish like a good greens curry. 

I make a reishi/chaga infusion every Sunday for the week ahead. It takes all of 3 minutes to put it on, and I dip into it every day or two for a good tea. VARIATIONS: you can simmer the mushrooms with some fresh ginger slices, or a cinnamon stick and maybe a few cardamom pods to add a chai flavour. I just bring it back to a boil before using it for teas and store it on the stovetop for those 4-5 days it will take me to get through a batch. You can also make a big batch and keep it in a glass jar in the fridge if you like, or prepare this in your slow cooker and let it simmer on low all week as you dip into it for sauces or additional nutrients to your meals when you need to thin something or steam the broccoli a little further.

The players: cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla powder, chaga and reishi mushrooms, roasted pumpkin, cocoa powder. Super Charged Hot Chocolate.

The players: cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla powder, chaga and reishi mushrooms, roasted pumpkin, cocoa powder. Super Charged Hot Chocolate.

2 cups of chaga reishi tea
5-6 heaping tbsp roasted pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp vanilla powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder or raw carob powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
2-3 cardamom pods, cracked open (put shell and seeds in your pot)
1 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp maple syrup or honey

Put all of these ingredients in a pot big enough to hold it all. Bring it to a simmer, and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Next, fish out the cardamom shells. In your blender or in a bowl that will accommodate your immersion blender, put 1/2 cup to 1 cup of either creme fraiche or coconut milk or any milk of your choosing (making sure to pick one with a higher fat content) along with roughly 1 cup of your super charged hot chocolate, and blend until smooth. Add the remainder of your super charged hot chocolate to the mix, again blending until smooth. Voila! 

There are so many benefits to this Super Charged Hot Chocolate, but I won't bore you with it. Sometimes it's good to just make some food that tastes good and feels good. Now that's nourishing.

A barista I will never be. A cuppa Super Charged Hot Chocolate. For you, sweet one.

A barista I will never be. A cuppa Super Charged Hot Chocolate. For you, sweet one.