Here’s How to Make the Trending Hot Cocoa “Charcuterie” Boards Vegan
Just when you thought charcuterie boards couldn’t get any more interesting, the hot cocoa “charcuterie” board makes an entrance. It’s quite genius and simple: Take all the hot cocoa accompaniments that you can imagine—and may not have imagined—and arrange them on a board.
Let your family (and “pod” friends) dive in for DIY hot cocoa magic. These days, you can find vegan-friendly consumables not only at Whole Foods and the like, but also places like CVS (which is increasingly adding veg-friendly and health-conscious items and brands to its food isles). Here are some common delectables that you should consider adding to your hot chocolate-board masterpiece. Then, continue on for some visual hot cocoa “charcuterie” inspiration from some super creative gals spreading a little holiday cheer.
Cocoa powder: You don’t need the fancy processed stuff. Often you can buy good old plain cocoa powder and mix it with a little sugar and plant-based milk—viola, you have a perfect hot cocoa base.
Carob powder: Meet cocoa’s younger, hipper, more earthy sister: carob. Carob is made from dry, roasted carob-tree pods and is a great cocoa alternative. High in fiber, low in fat with a rich, pleasantly bitter, chocolatey-ish taste. You can usually find carob powder at health food stores and online.
Plant-based milk: You can mix your cocoa or carb powder into really any plant-based / vegan milk your heart desires for a rich and creamy hot cocoa drink. There is an endless selection from soy, to almond, to oat, and more.
Marshmallows: Not all marshmallows are vegan since many contain gelatin. So make sure to read the ingredients, or stick with trusted brands like Dandies, or Trader Joe’s brand marshmallows (which are vegan).
Gourmet vegan cookies: If you really want to spice up your cocoa board with something special, add some of Maya’s Cookies (all vegan, with gluten-free options as well). Cut in half or in fourths, perfect for little dipping bites. These cookies will make your board look ultra-fancy. This season Maya has holiday cookies (like gingerbread) and their standard options available as well.
Oreos: Yes, these are one of those accidental vegan items. Crush up Oreos, and add to your board. They make for a perfect hot chocolate topping...perhaps best sprinkled on top of the whipped cream. Trader Joe’s make an Oreo-like cookie (which is vegan, although not labeled as such) called Joe Joe’s which would be a great option as well.
Chocolate bars: To add some fancy chocolate bar flare to your board, you'll have many options. There are now more non-dairy, vegan chocolates than ever. You can chop up in little bits for the board, or break into squares or chunks for snacking or dipping. With oat milk chocolate from brands like Raaka; to health-conscious low-sugar bars from The Good Chocolate; to the popular Hu Kitchen; and the ultra-fancy Lagusta’s Luscious white chocolate — your chocolate-bar game will officially be stepped up.
Whipped cream: Thankfully, more non-dairy, vegan whipped creams are gracing the grocery store shelves these days. You can find whips from brands like SoDelicious (always vegan) and Tru (which makes a vegan option), or look for mainstream non-dairy whipped cream which is typically vegan; but if not labeled, read to make sure there are no dairy derivatives.
Baileys Almande Almondmilk Liqueur: It’s been quite a year, so your cocoa deserves a little spiking with Baileys’ vegan almond milk liqueur...we know, it sounds too good to be true. (This one is adults-only of course.)
These delectable hot cocoa paraphernalia suggestions are just a start. You can continue to get creative and add candy canes, cinnamon sticks, dark chocolate chips, carob chips, and more!
Hot Cocoa “Charcuterie” Board Inspiration:
Check out this Chanukah-inspired board from @rosa_lilyrose. “Hot cocoa boards have been super popular on Pinterest this season and I was so inspired by the talented @rebekahlowin and her stunning Chanukah candy board that I had to put these two trends together!” she writes on Instagram.
Food allergy-aware mom and lawyer @foodallergydiva is helping make it a December to remember with this spunky vegan and allergy-friendly hot cocoa and goodie board. A clean cocoa cheers to that!
This Insta-cute Physician Assistant (PA) turned stay-at-home mom, @thepeddlingpa, puts this fun cocoa board together for her “Stay Home Saturday’s” series. “I’ll be coming up with fun ideas for family fun nights and date nights to help us get through this COVID winter!” she says in a post. That’s the spirit.
From blogging to decorating, @gatheredliving gives us a fierce hot coca board that she calls a “perfect cozy weekend treat for all your fall or holiday festivities.”