I can vividly remember while growing up here in New Jersey, each winter we actually still got snow, lots of snow! I don’t recall having 60 degree days in December and January. My father would take my brother Matt and I sledding. We would swoop down hill after hill, squealing with glee. We would stay out until our cheeks were rosy with the chill of winter and our fingers felt so cold we thought they may fall off. It was right about then that my father would bring out his big thermos filled with steaming hot chocolate! We would sip the piping hot sweetness as it warmed our frozen bodies.
I honestly don’t know if my father made that hot chocolate from scratch for our winter outings or if he just whipped up a big batch of the powdered mix. Either way, it tasted like a dream. Today I still have fond memories any time I tear open a packet of hot chocolate. But this definitely isn’t a cup of Swiss Miss.
This Mexican hot chocolate is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before. The best way I can describe it is that it’s like drinking a candy bar. A rich, dark, bittersweet candy bar with hints of cinnamon and a little spiciness to it. Each sip of this Mexican hot chocolate left me wanting another and yet another.
Mexican hot chocolate is made with a bitter, granular solid chocolate that’s usually sold in disks which gets melted into milk. Now, I’m certainly no expert on this particular drink but from what I understand it can also have cinnamon, chile powder, anise, vanilla and other spices depending on which region it comes from. For my version, I infused my milk with cinnamon before adding a cinnamon spiked Mexican chocolate. I also added a bit of chili powder to mine for some warmth. All the flavors came together to make the most incredible cup of hot chocolate, next to my father’s.
One Year Ago: Cannoli Pancakes
Mexican Hot Chocolate
2 cups whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks, coarsely broken)
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 disks of Mexican chocolate, finely chopped *about 1.5 ounces (I used Taza Cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano)
– In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with the broken cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 30 minutes then strain.
– Add cocoa powder and chili powder to the milk and return to a boil, whisking constantly.
– Remove from heat and add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.
– Serve warm.