When I was recently diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, a nutritionist friend advised me to switch to a strict anti-inflammatory diet. That meant cutting way down on all the usual suspects: gluten, dairy, and, of course, sugar in virtually all forms.
Most of the desserts I loved were instantly off the menu. And though the occasional square of extra-dark chocolate was considered acceptable, I really missed being able to treat myself with something rich and indulgent when the afternoon doldrums struck.
The solution I hit on? Sugar-less chocolate drinks: cocoa for winter and, when the temperature turned sultry, this riff on an iced mocha. It’s dark and chocolately, just sweet enough, and completely dairy and sugar-free thanks to my secret weapon: liquid stevia.
The Secret to the Best Sugar-Free Iced Mocha Is Liquid Stevia
In its powdered form those little packets of stevia can be overpoweringly sweet. It can also have a lingering and not altogether pleasant aftertaste. When I started experimenting with stevia drops, though, it was a game changer.
The key is to use it very sparingly. That may be as little as a single drop in a cup of coffee or tea; 2 drops are all I need to give my morning spinach-and-strawberry smoothie a boost. You want just enough to signal “sweet” to your taste buds, but not enough that they really register the flavor of stevia itself.
Start with 4 or 5 drops to sweeten the recipe that follows; It’s always best to start with less and add more to taste.
To keep it dairy-free, I make my drink with an unsweetened plant-based creamer (Plant Folk Coconut Creamer is one I like), which is richer than plain non-dairy milk, and I use a good quality cocoa powder, such as Navitas Organics Cacao Powder. Served up in a tall glass with a head of froth and a sprinkle of cinnamon, it tastes like pure decadence – with none of the sugary aftermath.
Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Iced Mocha
PREP TIME00 min
COOK TIME00 min
1 ½ tablespoons espresso powder
1 ½ tablespoons good-quality cocoa powder
4 to 6 drops liquid stevia, vanilla or plain
1 pint non-dairy creamer, such as Plant Folk Coconut Creamer, or other non-dairy milk
Ground cinnamon for garnish (optional)
In a small bowl, stir together the espresso powder and cocoa. Add 2 tablespoons very hot water and stir to smooth out any lumps. Microwave on high for 20 seconds and stir until smooth. Stir in the stevia.
If you have a frother, set aside about ¼ cup of the creamer, and divide the rest among two tall glasses. Stir half the chocolate mixture into each glass (about 2 teaspoons per glass) and mix well. Add ice to fill.
Froth the reserved creamer until light and cloud-like and top each drink with a generous dollop. If desired, dust with a bit of cinnamon. Add a straw and enjoy!