Growing up as army brats, my sister and I never really lived close to extended family, so our parents started a tradition of sending us off for the summers to spend a month with each set of grandparents while our parents set up house in whatever new place our Dad had been reassigned to. We'd start off either with our Mother's family in Georgia or our Dad's parents in Virginia and then switch midway through the summer. Conveniently, our great-grandparents lived in North Carolina, providing a halfway point where we would spend a few days while waiting to be picked up by whoever was hosting us for the last half of the summer.
I have very vivid memories our time at that little house in North Carolina. We'd drive up around the back and run across the sandy yard to our great-grandmother opening the back door, then through to the living room where our great-grandfather could always be found listening to his police scanner. We'd go walking with our great-grandfather to the K Mart that sat right behind their house, where we would each pick out a toy and walk back home in time for dinner, to a table groaning with fresh biscuits, chicken dressing, ham, greens, and what always seemed like five kinds of beans. And no matter how much our great-grandmother had cooked, I remember our great-grandfather always went out for a bucket of KFC to supplement the meal, just in case. To wash it all down, we'd have giant goblets of insanely sweet tea, or best of all, our great-grandfather would go to the refrigerator and bring out the cartons of Nesquik he bought especially for my sister and I. Chocolate milk was not something we were allowed at home, and I'm pretty sure we each put away about half a gallon during those visits.
These days, my milk consumption is limited to baking and ice cream, yet I sometimes really want a cold glass of chocolate milk. Unfortunately, as good as it tastes, it always leaves me with that heavy, regretful feeling from way too much sugar, so I decided I needed a lighter version to sate my cravings. Enter cashew milk, light, refreshing, and best of all , easy to make, requiring no special nut bags or equipment beyond a blender. Sarah Britton has a great all-purpose nut milk formula in her book, My New Roots, which I used as a base for my chocolate milk. The result is a creamy, chocolatey treat straight out of childhood, but perfect for adulthood and all it's pesky responsible eating habits.
Chocolate Cashew Milk
Adapted from My New Roots
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
4 cups filtered water
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 medjool dates, pitted
pinch of salt
- Soak cashews for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- When ready to use, drain cashews and place in a blender. Add water, cocoa powder, dates, and salt.
- Blend on high speed to combine until completely smooth. This may take a few minutes in a regular blender, less time in a high-powered model like a ninja or Vitamix.
- Divide among glasses and enjoy!