Winter is about to be history, so why not crank up the fireplace and snuggle up with a nice cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate? I know, it’s easier to use the Ibarra or Abuelita brand–but what if you run out? That’s a disaster in my house. So, I have come up with this easy version and you probably have everything you need in your kitchen already.
It’s made with semi-sweet chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Of course, milk and sugar are key ingredients, as well. I am proud to say that both chocolate and vanilla originated in Mexico. In fact, Wikipedia says that vanilla is grown on an orchid plant and pollinated by a bee native to Mexico, which is one reason why growing vanilla outside of Mexico was not successful for a very long time. That’s some bee!
Whatever it’s origins, I love how all of these flavors come together. In Mexico, if you throw a rock, you’ll hit a “panaderia”, or bakery. Much like the British Afternoon Tea, or the American donut-dunking breakfast, a cup of hot chocolate and some Mexican sweet bread for dunking are traditions. Natives walk to the nearest “panaderia” for fresh, soft, warm sweet bread for the mid-afternoon ritual. If you are vacationing in Mexico, it is not uncommon for the waiter to bring a basket of sweet bread to your breakfast table. Go ahead and dunk! If you are having some Mexican sweet bread, dunking it in a cup of hot chocolate is the way to go! No one will fault you for those chocolate and sugar whiskers you will end up with.
- 4 cups milk
- 2 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolae
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh is best)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- In a medium saucepan, add the milk and chocolate. Stirring constantly, bring the milk to a simmer until milk is scalded and chocolate is melted, taking care not to burn the milk. Remove from heat.
- Pour milk and chocolate into a blender. Add remaining ingredients. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated and it has a head of froth, about 15-20 seconds.
- Pour into 4 cups. Enjoy!
Et cetera: Do you see that wooden stick with a bulb at the end in my picture that looks like it could be an ancient baby rattle? That is actually a Mexican hot chocolate “frother”, or “molinillo“. Before there were blenders, Mexican cooks would stand the frother in the pot of hot chocolate and clapping your hands on either side of the handle, you would spin it by quickly moving your hands back and forth, as if you were trying to warm your hands. The wooden rings on the frother would mix the ingredients and you would end up with a warm, frothy treat. I treasure mine and still use it sometimes.