Pumpkin Spice Dark Hot Chocolate

Are you the person who waits for autumn with baited breath in front of your local Starbucks? Does ‘PSL’ mean anything to you? Yes, I’m talking about pumpkin spice lattes and, come late winter, I look for any excuse to work them back into my menu at home. A recent Recipe Redux was my excuse. The challenge ingredient was chocolate. That’s right. The dietitians are working with chocolate and we LIKE it. So with chocolate in hand, I plotted to combine it with a healthier, pumpkin spice latte-like beverage.

Components of a healthier Pumpkin Spice Beverage:

  • Using unsweetened almond milk as a base, we’re starting off at 30-40 calories per cup.
  • Now for what you’ve actually been waiting for … the benefits of chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure. I’m not saying go crazy here, but it does have some health benefits.
  • By using spices and alternative flavors like pumpkin, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, you won’t be missing the major sugar jolt that is normally used for flavorings.

Pumpkin Spice Dark Hot Chocolate

Carlene Thomas, RD, LD

Makes 4 one cup servings

4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
6 oz dark chocolate chunks
3 TBSP canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
cinnamon sticks & fresh nutmeg
Optional: sugar per taste preference, whipped topping, coffee


  1. In a large pot, heat milk until steaming (not boiling … no bueno). Add chunks or chips of dark chocolate to the same pot, stirring constantly.
  2. Add pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to the milk mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Pour into four glasses and serve. If you need to be caffeinated, add coffee or instant powdered coffee.
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Carlene Thomas
Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD, is a food photographer and recipe developer in Northern Virginia. She and her husband work full time on their business and social media platforms, Healthfully Ever After, where they work with companies to tell their story through food visuals including stop motion, photography and video. Read her blog, HealthfullyEverAfter.co, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.