The Maya and Aztecs of Mexico were the original chocoholics- with cocoa pods being considered medicinal and used a currency. A swill called xocoatl was drunk (in excess by the nobility), which was a mixture of unrefined chocolate, water, and spices which was served cold. This heritage continues to this day with full-bodied recipes for warm drinking chocolate, normally with a kick. This isn't your typical Swiss Miss or Nestle's chocolate for gulping down on a snowy day- this is chocolate for sipping (cautiously, it burns).
My recipe is a mix of traditional ones and a few modern shortcuts (like hot sauce) for convenience. Marshmallows are wholly optional.
|Kagashi's Mexican Hot Chocolate|
- Saucepan (smallish to medium)
- Small bowl
- Whisk (or fork)
- 1 dark chocolate bar of your choice (I used a 30 cent Trader Joe Bar)
- 1 tbsp (15mL) cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp (45mL) white sugar
- 1 tbsp (15mL) cinnamon
- 3 1/2 (840 mL) cups milk (your choice of fat percentage, I used good old 2%)
- 1/2 (120) cup water
- 2 eggs
- Hot sauce or chili powder to taste
- 1 (4.9 mL) tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Break up your chocolate bar into pieces and melt it in a double boiler or over low heat- then add your chocolate, sugar, and water. Be sure to mix thoroughly so it becomes a nice, smooth concentrate. Once that's together, slowly add in the milk (.... keep stirring) and the water (KEEP STIRRING) until that's velvety smooth and ever-so slighty bubbly.
Remember that small bowl? Crack two eggs and begin whisking as if your life depends on it (El Chupacabra exists, and it goes after people who don't whisk and stir their hot chocolate enough). At this point, add in your cinnamon and vanilla (if desired).
Now it's time to temper. If you've never tempered before, it's easy- but ESSENTIAL. Take a few spoonfuls (one at a time!) of your hot mixture from the pot and stir it into your eggs. If you don't gradually bring them up to temperature this way, the stark contrast of heat will scramble the eggs- and grainy, eggy chocolate isn't particularly appetizing- so temper ladies and gentlmen!
Remember that in this recipe, a little goes a long way. This is fairly concentrated stuff, and taking big gulps of it like you would Swiss Miss might result in a scorched esophagus. Although some people are rather keen on that these days, what with ghost pepper salsa becoming commonplace in supermarkets.
Enjoy a cup on a cold evening with friends, top it with a dollop of whipped cream, have some on Dia de Los Muertos in honor of your chocoholic grandmother (Rest her soul).
Speaking of Dia de Los Muertos, I'll be headed to Detroit on Monday to take a look at the celebrations happening in Mexicantown.