Dish of the Week: Mexican Hot Chocolate

You may as well serve the chocolate drink with churros for good measure.
You may as well serve the chocolate drink with churros for good measure.
Photo by Juliana Su

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

Just in case the weather actually gets colder for good this time, this week we're sharing a recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Mexican hot chocolate is like classic hot cocoa in that it's made with heated milk, chocolate, and sugar. This drink, however, has added spices like cinnamon, vanilla, anise and chiles.

The beverage traces back to Mayan and Aztec cultures, where seeds from cocoa trees were ground into a paste, mixed with water, and flavored native spices and herbs to cover up the bitter taste. The word cocao is derived from the Nahuatl word xocolātl, meaning bitter water. Since it had a very sacred place in Central American culture, the scientific name of the cocoa plant is Theobroma cacao, with theobroma meaning "food of the gods."

Cold, thick, and intensely flavored. traditional xocolatl was quite the acquired taste. Once Europeans introduced sugar, however, it morphed into the slightly sweeter hot cocoa that we know and love today.

This recipe, from Martha Stewart, uses already-spiced Mexican chocolate shavings for a quick and easy take on the traditional drink. Part sweet, part warm and spicy, it morphs the best of both worlds.

Mexican-Style Hot Chocolate

Ingredients makes 8 servings 1 qt milk 2 three-inch cinnamon sticks 10 oz Ibarra, or other good-quality Mexican chocolate, finely chopped

Optional: freshly whipped cream (which is very untraditional but very delicious) + a pinch of cinnamon and/or cayenne

Directions

Place milk and cinnamon sticks in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat, and add chocolate. Let the mixture stand until chocolate melts, about 3 minutes. Whisk until well combined.

Serve Mexican hot chocolate immediately, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a pinch of ground cinnamon and/or cayenne.

See more Dishes of the Week: Dish of the Week: Coq Au Vin Dish of the Week: Argentine Chimichurri Dish of the Week: Flourless Chocolate Cake Dish of the Week: New England Clam Chowder Dish of the Week: Beef Stroganoff Dish of the Week: Hushpuppies Dish of the Week: Irish Soda Bread Dish of the Week: Pastitsio Dish of the Week: Chicken Tikka Masala Dish of the Week: The Cuban Sandwich Dish of the Week: Chicken and Chorizo Empanadas Dish of the Week: Potato Kugel Dish of the Week: Korean Fried Chicken Dish of the Week: Wiener Schnitzel Dish of the Week: Mexican Chilaquiles Dish of the Week: Falafel Dish of the Week: Fish and Chips Dish of the Week: Jucy Lucy Dish of the Week: Gazpacho Dish of the Week: Baklava Dish of the Week: Steak au Poivre Dish of the Week: Fried Green Tomatoes Dish of the Week: Turkish Shish Kebab Dish of the Week: Alabama White Sauce Dish of the Week: Plum Clafoutis Dish of the Week: Spaghetti alla Carbonara Dish of the Week: Homemade Pierogi Dish of the Week: Scallion Pancakes Dish of the Week: Mofongo Dish of the Week: Summer Risotto Dish of the Week: The Chicago-Style Hot Dog Dish of the Week: Beer-Battered Apple Fritters Dish of the Week: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca Dish of the Week: Chicken-Fried Steak Dish of the Week: Soufflé au Fromage Dish of the Week: Manhattan Clam Chowder Dish of the Week: Klobasneks Dish of the Week: Moussaka Dish of the Week: Arancini Dish of the Week: Classic Bread Pudding Dish of the Week: Étouffée


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