By Chef Sara
Chaga mushrooms, native to Russia, Siberia, and Canada, have been used in folk medicine for thousands of years as a supplement for surviving harsh, cold climates. Modern studies have shown that chaga boasts one of the highest antioxidant levels of all foods (even surpassing green tea and blueberries!), and regular consumption may help fight free radicals and boost the immune system. Chaga mushrooms can be ordered online or found in health food stores.
For this recipe, you'll start by making a chaga “tea”, which is a simple infusion of dried chaga mushrooms simmered with water, then strained. After making the “tea”, you'll combine it with a few simple ingredients to make a luxurious hot chocolate that tastes like an indulgence, but packs and nutrient- and mineral-dense punch. Drink this during the cold winter nights, and feel your mind and body relax with each delicious sip.
Chaga Hot Chocolate
¼ cup dried chaga mushroom chunks
1 quart water
½ cup Chaga Tea (see recipe below)
½ cup of your favorite nondairy milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup or coconut sugar
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
First, make the chaga “tea”. Combine the dried chaga chunks and water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 1 hour. Cool slightly, then strain into a quart-sized mason jars, reserving the chaga chunks. (These can be frozen until you make your next batch, up to three additional times.) Store the chaga “tea” in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To make the chaga hot chocolate, combine the chaga “tea”, nondairy milk, and maple syrup or coconut sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, and heat until steaming. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cacao and vanilla. Pour into your favorite mug or teacup and enjoy!