| Recipes |

Dish of the Week: Mexican Hot Chocolate

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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


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.

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