It’s been quite chilly in Toronto these last couple of days, and I couldn’t imagine anything more indulgent than making Mexican Hot Chocolate to beat the cold weather. Adding cinnamon and cayenne pepper to the classic North American version of hot chocolate not only makes it more interesting, but also adds some health benefits (though mostly countered by the calories) and an extra level of warmth. To me, it also just tastes better.
Technically, this Mexican drink made from cocoa, cinnamon, and chiles traces its history to the Maya and Aztecs. Taking the form of a coarse tablet form, Mexican chocolate is traditionally consumed as a beverage simply diluted with water. Nowadays, chefs are using this ingredient in all sorts of desserts and savoury dishes (such as the famous mole poblano). We’re going to take it a little bit more North American and over-the-top in this recipe.
- 4 cups whole milk
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (can use less if you find it too spicy)
- Whipped cream and cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)
- Place 1 cup of the milk to a medium saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat until the milk just begins to simmer.
- Add the cocoa powder (and chocolate if desired), sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to the milk.
- Continuously whisk until cocoa, sugar, spices and milk are thoroughly combined.
- Slowly add the remaining 3 cups of milk, whisking to combine.
- Cook over low heat until the hot chocolate is warmed through.
- If desired, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, plus a cinnamon stick for stirring.