Chaga Chocolate (with rose petal brandy

Hot Chaga chocolate is one of my favourite winter warmers!

Chaga is an amazing medicinal mushroom which can help support our immune system. It contains powerful anti-oxidants, and has shown anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral capabilities. It’s also long been used to treat skin conditions and to boost energy levels!

With a bitter, earthy taste Chaga compliments the flavour of chocolate really well. However, I find it’s better with a little sweetener to take the edge off the bitterness.

You can use whatever sweetener you have to hand although lacuma and/or maple syrup work really well. I buy my Chaga as it’s uncommon to find it growing where I live. It can be sourced from good wholefood stores or bought from online suppliers. Foraged turkey tail and / or birch polypore mushrooms are a welcome addition to this recipe too.

You could if you wanted make this drink without the mushroom element. To do so, simply add rose petal brandy to the hot chocolate drink, as described below. This rosey addition alone makes for a pretty incredible mug of hot chocolate and takes less time.

You can keep any spare mushroom water decoction for several days, adding it to cooking as you might a vegetable stock. It can be re-heated too and enjoyed as mushroom tea with some sweetener (I love taking this in my flask on most winter walks).

Chaga chocolate recipe:

Chaga powder  (available from good whole food stores) – 1 tbspn (or 2 if not using other mushrooms)
Foraged turkey tail mushrooms / birch polypore mushrooms (optional) – 1 tbspn
Lacuma powder – 2 tbspns
Maple syrup – 1 tbspn
Cocoa powder – 3 tbspns
Dark orange chocolate – a couple of pieces
Milk/plant based milk – 2 cups
Water – 1.5 L
Rose petal brandy – To taste
Hogweed seed powder (optional) 1/4 tspn
Allspice powder – 1/4 tspn

Equipment:

1 large saucepan
1 medium sized saucepan
1 coffee grinder or nutribullet
A spatula
Your favourite mugs!

Method:

Take dried wild or bought rose petals and infuse for a couple of weeks in brandy. (for this I stuff as many petals as possible in a small jar then top up with brandy). After infusing you can strain removing the petals if you choose but I often don’t do this and it’s okay.

Alternatively you could make a sugar syrup by dissolving lots of sugar into very hot water and infuse petals into this for around 6-8 hours. You can then use this sugar syrup infusion instead of the sweeteners in the recipe and get a hint of rose into the drink this way.

Blitz any mushrooms pieces, turning them to powder. Blitz hogweed seeds separately.

Combine mushroom powders in a large saucepan (or a slow cooker) adding 1.5 L water. Simmer for 1-2 hours. 2 hours is better if possible, as you will release even more of the health benefitting, immunomodulating compounds. 

Heat the other saucepan, melting the chocolate pieces. Once melted, add the milk, a little at a time, stirring. 

Add around 2 mugs of mushroom water decoction.

Add your cocoa powder, lacuma, allspice and hogweed seed powders. Stir to mix ingredients.

Gently heat for five or ten minutes

Adjust cocoa powder and sweeteners to taste.

Pour into mugs. Add rose petal brandy sparingly. Enjoy with a friend or two. They will love you for this!

Next level version, not necessary, but for getting maximum medicinal benefits

To gain the maximum benefit from the medicinal mushrooms you need to do what’s called a double extraction. You really don’t have to but it’s quite easy. It’s just a little more involved. Whilst many beneficial compounds are water soluble some can only be released through alcohol extraction.

Here’s how you can do it:

Take a bottle, filling to about 1/3 full with mushroom powders, top up with rose petal brandy. Allow some head room for possible slight expansion of dried mushroom powder (this is probably more likely to be an issue if using chunks of dried mushrooms).

Store in a dark bottle in a cool place, away from sunlight. Shake every day or so. After two weeks, strain through a muslin, keeping the brandy tincture. 

At the end of making your chocolate drink, add this rose petal and mushroom tincture to your chocolate drink to taste. *Normally for a dose of full spectrum mushroom extract you would want the same volume of water extraction to alcohol extraction. But here we’re just focusing on making a deliciously nourishing drink, rather than on how to get our daily dose of medicine.

Note: You can if you wish make a further water decoction, (using the mushroom powder strained from your brandy) simmering this in water for a couple of hours, as before, possibly with some more fresh mushroom powder…This is a way of getting the most from your mushroom powder(s).

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