The best hot chocolate I’ve ever had was at a Mexican café that I’m likely never to visit again. It’s the flavour I most remember from my visit to Playa del Carmen. Thick chocolate with orange zest, vanilla & cinnamon, and a twist of heat – brought to your little table in a cup and saucer by a polite server. I appreciated being treated no differently than a local at Ah Cacao in the aggressive hurley burley of a tourist town. –A delicious drink in a nice place to relax for a little while. I’ve been wanting that special taste for a few years, and what better time to make it happen than Valentine’s Day! The recipe and the flavours I remember are below.
While I was searching for recipes, I found the Ah Cacao website and left a comment – about their great hot chocolate and about how they should put directions on their site. To my surprise they wrote right back with the recipe. I’d already made my chocolate and finished this post, so I’ll make Ah Cacao‘s chocolate next time, with a comparison of the two versions.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe
This chocolate drink is delicious and very rich, full of scents and flavours.
Adapted from Whole Foods, Mexican Hot Cocoa
- ¼ cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 2 1/2 cups whole Milk
- 3 ounces 90% Chocolate (I used a Lindt 90% chocolate bar)
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 1 Vanilla Pod, scraped and open (I used Ah Cacao’s vanilla bean)
- Orange Zest from approx. 1/2 an orange (Organic if you can)
- Red Chili Pepper, minced fine, without seeds. Approx. 1/2 inch to taste.
- Place vanilla and cinnamon in approx. ½ cup of water in small saucepan with lid, just to cover. Simmer for 40 minutes over low heat. Remove pot from stove. Strain and reserve the liquid and set aside.
- In medium saucepan, mix together cocoa powder and sugar with ½ cup of the milk to make a smooth paste. Stir in the remaining milk and cook on medium low until hot but not scalded.
- In the last few minutes, stir in the minced chili, then the cinnamon-vanilla water. Add the orange zest last. Stir to mix fully.
- Strain your spiced hot chocolate into a jug. Pour into serving cups.
Modify spice amounts to suit your taste, especially the hot chili. You want a little heat, not a fire.
Nutritional Info – Per Serving: Serving size: about 10 fl oz, 550 calories (220 from fat), 24g total fat, 14g saturated fat, 40mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 73g carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 39g sugar), 15g protein
YOU next Year Principle
Enjoy the special moments while they’re here.
On hot chocolate: “It flatters you for a while, it warms you for an instant; then all of a sudden, it kindles a mortal fever in you.”
Marie, Marquise de Sévigné, 17th century