You are here

Hot Chocolate

Two thousand years ago the Maya cooked up Earth's first chocolate from cacao beans. The chocolate of the Maya, Toltec, and Aztec Indians generally took the form of a bitter drink. Sugar was added later to suit European palates.
Wikipedia: Chocolate

Mexican / Mayan / Aztec Hot Chocolate - Susan Wenger asks...
             Mexican Hot Chocolate - Doug Essinger-Hileman
             Hot Chocolate with Cayenne - Doug Essinger-Hileman
             The Aztec Experience - John Gosden
             Mayan Hot Chocolate - Edmund
             A Quibble - Doug Essinger-Hileman
             Xocolatl - Astrid Bear
             Mole Poblano
Hot Chocolate with Amaretto - Alice Gomez
Hot Chocolate - Lois
"Adult" Hot Chocolate - Doug Essinger-Hileman
Pusser's Kye - John Arthur
Chocolate, Hot - Peter Mackay
Hot Chocolate from Café Mozart in Vienna - Doug Essinger-Hileman
Cocoa in Poetry
             In Praise of Cocoa, Cupid's Nightcap - Hope Hare
             Christopher Morley on Cocoa - Mary S.
             The Song of Right and Wrong - Mary S.

Mexican / Mayan / Aztec Hot Chocolate - Susan Wenger asks...
Has anybody made cocoa (or hot chocolate) with chile powder or chile peppers? Does anyone know the proportions recommended?

Mexican Hot Chocolate - Doug Essinger-Hileman
Melt 8 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate with 1 cup of water in a double boiler; stir until smooth. In another pan, infuse 3 cups of whole milk with 8 whole cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks, 1/8 tsp cayenne, bringing the warm milk just to the point where bubbles form around the edge. Whisk the milk into the chocolate mixture, add 2/3 cup granulated sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain, reserving the cinnamon sticks, and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Stir in 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

The Aztec Experience - John Gosden
Has to be plain, unsweetened cocoa powder, or, easier to find, bitter chocolate, if you're aiming for the true Aztec experience.
Personally, I would prefer Helge Rubinstein's Spanish Drinking Chocolate:
1 pt (600 ml) milk
100g (3 1/2 oz) bitter chocolate
sugar (optional)
Heat milk, then add chocolate and stir till melted. Bring to a simmer and whisk over steady heat for at least 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. Whisk to a froth, and whisk in one egg yolk just before serving.
Pour hot and frothing into cups or mugs. Optional: Top with a dollop of lightly whipped cream sprinkled with cocoa.

Hot Chocolate with Cayenne - Doug Essinger-Hileman
For each serving, combine 1 cup milk (most recipes call for whole milk, but I have used skim milk with good results), 1/4 tsp ground cayenne and 1 tsp ground allspice (without question, make sure you freshly grate this from a whole nut). Heat this over medium low heat to just before it starts to boil. Add 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate that has been finely chopped and stir continuously until it is melted. Remove from the heat, let sit for at least 10 minutes, then return to low heat and bring back to a simmer. Drink.

Mayan Hot Chocolate - Edmund
Google yields this interesting recipe, featuring nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, as well as chile: Mayan Hot Cocoa
This is Mexican-style hot chocolate, as you saw in the movie Chocolat. After I saw the movie, I experimented for several weeks and came up with the recipe.
Cocoa was used by the Aztec and Mayan as a sacred drink. Xocolatl or chocolatl was brewed with various spices and drank unsweetened as part of ceremonies. This recipe uses pure cocoa and several spices, including chile peppers. The flavor is very rich and aromatic, like a dark perfume. It's also unsweetened. Some may prefer it sweeter; just add more sugar. Makes four mugs of hot cocoa.
Heat 4 cups of milk in a double boiler at medium-low. If you don't have a double boiler, then put a small pot inside a larger pot. If you don't have two pots, then stir it constantly.
While the milk is warming up, mix the following in a new bowl:
1/2 cup cocoa (use Peets, Scharffenberger, Valhrona, Starbucks, or similar.)
1 tsp unbleached flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 crushed cloves (put the cloves on your cutting board and crush them with the flat of your kitchen knife)
1/4 tsp chile peppers (crushed, the same way as the cloves)
1 cinnamon stick (loosely crumbled)
To mix all this: Sift the cocoa powder and flour. Add a bit of milk and stir the cocoa/flour mix until it becomes a paste. Slowly add milk and continue to stir. It should turn into a paste. If you add milk too fast, you get clumpy cocoa. If that happens, use a hand blender to smoothen it. Finally, when all the cocoa and flour are a paste (no more dry flour,) add the remaining spices (sugar, nutmeg, cloves, peppers, and cinnamon.)
Add the cocoa/flour/spices mix to the hot milk in the double boiler. Stir constantly to keep it from burning. If you want it thicker, add some corn starch. Add as much corn starch as you like.
When the cocoa is ready (it takes only fifteen minutes until it's nice and hot,) use a slotted spoon to scoop the cloves and cinnamon off the top and add:
2 tsp powered sugar. If you want it sweeter, add more powdered sugar.
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
Serve in heavy mugs. If you like, you can put whipped cream on top, add small marshmallows, or add a stick of cinnamon (for stirring.)
Shopping List
Quart of milk
Heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup cocoa (use Peets, Scharffenberger, Valhrona, Starbucks, or similar. (Visit and search for cocoa.)
1 tsp unbleached flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp powered sugar
Small marshmallows
1 nutmeg
3 cloves
chile peppers (You use red peppers, chile ancho, New Mexico peppers, etc. You can find these at any Mexican grocery shop.)
5 cinnamon sticks

A Quibble - Doug Essinger-Hileman
The only quibble I have with Andreas is that the drink in the movie Chocolat and that favored by the Aztec and Mayans was made with melted chocolate not cocoa. If you want to add nutmeg to the recipe from Chocolatier magazine, you can either float a couple of chunks of the nut in the steeping milk, or stir 1/8-1/4 tsp of fresh-grated nutmeg either into the hot chocolate or grate the nutmeg on top of the hot chocolate at serving.
Nutmeg and cinnamon make for very good cocoa. Especially wonderful is to top the hot chocolate off with whipped cream, and top the whipped cream off with fresh-grated nutmeg.

Xocolatl - Astrid Bear
Browsing in the coffee and tea aisle of the upscale grocery near me, I noticed an elegant tall cannister, printed in a lovely dark brown: Dagoba Organic Chocolate: XOCOLATL hot chocolate with chilies and cinnamon. Always a sucker for great packaging, compelling wrapper copy, and chocolate, I added it to my cart. Following directions, I heated milk and whisked in 3 T of the spiced and sugared cocoa, and soon I had a mug of an intoxicating beverage. A good dark chocolate flavor, gently embellished with cinnamon, and a definite kick of chili on the tongue. This is cocoa for grownups!

A dagoba, by the way is a dome-shaped structure built over relics of Buddha or some Buddhist saint. Here's a picture: Thuparama Dagoba, Anuradhapura.

Hot Chocolate with Amaretto - Alice Gomez
Even more wonderful is to pour a little Amaretto in it. Some people would top that idea with one of peppermint schnapps.

Hot Chocolate - Lois
Into a drinking bowl, put equal amounts of quality pure bitter cocoa and sugar, maybe a heaping tablespoon of each. Mix them together.
Then add hot liquid, a combination of water and milk, maybe a 1/2 cup each. Mix. Give to kids. If you have to, you could top this with marshmallows or whipped cream, but it's not recommended.
Make sure to mix the dry cocoa and sugar well, and there won't be any trouble dissolving the powder in the liquid.

Pusser's Kye - John Arthur
I can't remember where but a disgruntled Jack visiting another ship was not offered coffee, but cocoa. In my days on watch at sea we all refreshed ourselves with "pussers kye". The kye boat went round and we all had a mug full (same mug as I remember). It was made by scraping a very solid block of dark chocolate into a fanny and adding hot water. The block had pale-ish lumps in it (possibly cocoa-butter?) and was drunk neat. Kept us going, I can tell you.

"Adult" Hot Chocolate - Doug Essinger-Hileman
For those days you are interested in having an "adult" hot chocolate, try this recipe from the Boston Beer Company. They recommend that you use Samuel Adams Cream Stout.
Begin by preparing your glasses -- Boston Beer Company recommends martini glasses, but I think anything you'd serve a hot toddy in will work just as well -- by warming them, rubbing the edges with a lemon wedge and dipping the rim into a saucer of sugar. In a sauce pan, combine 2 12-ounce bottles of stout and 6 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar (we like the dark) and bring to a gentle boil; allow it to boil for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and whisk in 4 ounces of chocolate (the recipe calls for semisweet, but I intend to try the bittersweet) and 1/2 tsp chile powder. Once the chocolate has melted, pour the drink into the glasses and garnish with shaved white chocolate if desired. The recipe serves four.

Chocolate, Hot - Peter Mackay
Here's one of my favorites. I've modified the quantities for US usage.
1. Take a pound of chocolate.
2. Melt slowly in a saucepan.
3. Let set.
4. Serve.
Simple, elegant, timeless and very, very effective.
Try it in a range of flavours if you want to "improve" on the basic recipe. Fruit and nut, for instance, or light and dark.

Hot Chocolate from Café Mozart in Vienna - Doug Essinger-Hileman
A recipe for hot chocolate with whipped cream from Café Mozart in Vienna. It uses a method that is unique to my experience. For each serving, in the bowl of a food processor, combine 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, 1 tsp confectioner's sugar and a pinch of salt. Process on high just until the chocolate is finely ground. Over medium low heat, bring 1 cup milk to just below the boiling point. Add the chopped chocolate mixture, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract. Top with whipped cream and drink.

Cocoa in Poetry
Hope Hare
In Praise of Cocoa, Cupid's Nightcap (lines written upon hearing the startling news that cocoa is in fact a mild aphrodisiac)

Half past nine--high time for supper
"Cocoa, love?" "Of course, my dear."
Helen thinks it quite delicious,
John prefers it now to beer.
Knocking back the sepia potion,
Hubby winks, says, "Who's for bed?"
"Shan't be long," says Helen softly,
Cheeks a faintly blushing red.
For they've stumbled on a secret
Of a love that never wanes,
Rapt beneath the tumbled bedclothes,
Cocoa coursing through their veins.

Christopher Morley on Cocoa - Mary S.
Animal crackers and cocoa to drink,
That is the nicest of suppers, I think.
When I am old, and can have what I please,
I think I shall always insist upon these.

The Song of Right and Wrong - Mary S.
- G.K. Chesterton
Feast on wine or fast on water
And your honour shall stand sure,
God Almighty's son and daughter
He the valiant, she the pure;
If an angel out of heaven
Brings you other things to drink,
Thank him for his kind attentions,
Go and pour them down the sink.

Tea is like the East he grows in,
A great yellow Mandarin
With urbanity of manner
And unconsciousness of sin;
All the women, like a harem,
At his pig-tail troop along;
And, like all the East he grows in,
He is Poison when he's strong.

Tea, although an Oriental,
Is a gentleman at least;
Cocoa is a cad and coward,
Cocoa is a vulgar beast,
Cocoa is a dull, disloyal,
Lying, crawling cad and clown,
And may very well be grateful
To the fool that takes him down.

As for all the windy waters,
They were rained like tempests down
When good drink had been dishonoured
By the tipplers of the town;
When red wine had brought red ruin
And the death-dance of our times,
Heaven sent us Soda Water
As a torment for our crimes.