Chocolate: Mexican Hot Chocolate

A Cup of Mexican Hot

Did you know there are chocolate holidays? May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day, December 16 – National Chocolate Covered Anything Day (I like this one) and February is Chocolate Month. I am a bit of a chocoholic, so one or two recipes with this featured ingredient won’t cut it. Over the next few weeks, you’ll get several sweet and savory chocolate dishes – just in time for the ultimate of chocolate holidays – Valentine’s Day.

First up is Mexican hot chocolate. It journeys back thousands of years to the Mayas, Aztecs and other Central American Indians. In pre-conquest MesoAmerica, cacao trees were cultivated for many purposes, such as currency, ceremonial, and culinary use. Nobles and warriors drank cacahuatl, a bitter, frothy beverage made from ground cacao seeds, water, vanilla and chile.

Then, upon the arrival of the Spanish, cacao beans were used to make chocalatl, the precursor to today’s sweet hot chocolate. Cacao beans were ground with sugar and other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, anise, and almonds to create a paste that was hardened into tablets. The tablets were then mixed with hot water and corn broth, and made frothy. This sweet version, when taken back to Spain, grew in popularity and eventually spread throughout Europe.

Spanish Children's Rhyme - Chocolate

Today, Mexican children often drink hot chocolate with breakfast and they’ve even got a little ditty called Chocolate that they sing as their chocolate is being prepared and frothed.

A brew of Mexican hot chocolate is very simple to make using the Mexican chocolate available in many American grocery stores. The chocolate comes in hard disks and is made of cacao nibs, sugar and cinnamon. It is course and gritty before it is melted, rather than smooth like American bars, baking chocolates or chocolate chips. It can be found in the ethnic food section. I prefer the Ibarra brand, but Abuelita is a good substitute.

I grew up drinking Mexican hot chocolate and, for me, nothing can compare to a taza (cup) of the slightly bitter, cinnamon, chocolate treat.

Bate, bate chocolate!

Tidbits on Chocolate:

  1. The Mayas and Aztecs made their cacao drinks frothy by repeatedly pouring the liquid from high, back and forth between vessels. Then, the Spanish modeled a molinillo after indigenous whisks to make their chocalatl frothy. Molinillos are available in most Mexican markets and online (see images below).
  2. Some lore indicates that cacao has aphrodisiac effects and that Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (“Montezuma”) drank fifty mugs of chocolate a day, especially before entering his harem.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Frothing Mexican Hot

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Serves 4

This recipe should be used as a guide as you develop proportions to suit your taste. I like my hot chocolate with a lot of canela (cinnamon). If you’re not big on cinnamon or want to simplify your hot chocolate, skip Step 1. If you don’t have a molinillo, you can also use a hand whisk, an electric milk frother or use a blender (caution if using a blender; blend in small batches to avoid the lid shooting off; learn more about blending hot liquids).

In the rare event that you have leftovers, refrigerate and reheat.

1 cup water

1 stick cinnamon

5 cups milk

2 (3 oz) disks Mexican chocolate (Ibarra), rough chopped small

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder, optional

2 – 3 dashes cayenne powder, optional

Whipped cream, garnish

Ground cinnamon, garnish


  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water and cinnamon stick to boil; continue to boil until liquid turns brown and reduces to about 1/2 cup. Meanwhile, rough chop chocolate,  smaller pieces melt faster.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add milk and heat. When milk is on the brink of boiling, add the chopped chocolate and use the molinillo or wooden spoon to stir and break up large pieces of chocolate until it is melted. Add vanilla and taste. Add optional ingredients – coco for a deeper chocolate taste and cayenne a dash at a time, for a spicy bite.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick. Use the molinillo to make frothy. Serve hot alone or topped with whipped cream, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or cayenne.


Milk:  Soymilk, almond milk

Quantity:  To make a smaller/larger quantity, use about 3 wedges per 1 cup milk.

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12 Responses to Chocolate: Mexican Hot Chocolate

  1. Jessica Lora says:

    This looks really good! I cant wait to try it!

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  11. 。彼らのコスチューム一式の相当なリストから選ぶことができる座標たいカップル。あなたは、あなたが有料のためのジャケットを持って衣装をカバーしたくありませんので、フィットの代わりにジャケットのトップの上にできることを確認します。あなたがより暗い血のようなのであれば、青または緑の食品着色の使用を実装する必要まで冷蔵してください。かなりの群衆の中で目立つような何もありません、パーティーで注目されている、または少しの認識の同僚からあなたの余分の創造的な服装のために。選択はあなたのものです。楽しいあなたのコスチュームの新しいハロウィンコスチュームを見つけることを捜して、あなたとあなたの新しいコスチュームを探すために番号のワードワイドウェブ上にあります。しかし、あなたはあなたの赤ちゃんを厳しい予算にドレスアップしたいですか?よく、あなたは予算を損なうことなく、完全にかわいい服をあなたの子供のためにハロウィンを見つけるのを援助させてください。あなたが特定のカラースキームに従うつもりですか?あなたのお茶目な天使や威厳のあの世のことなのでしょうか?世界中の異なる文化の天使の様々な描写があります。シリアルキラーとしてのドレス。若い女の子のためのかわいいから、挑発的なセクシーさと、どんな年齢の女の子のための衣装があります。多くの人々がプラスの大きさのハロウィンコスチュームを見つけるのは難しいと信じて、その理由は彼らがそうしないお祭り騒ぎに参加することを意味するすべてがあなたが適切な場所で探しているということです。この赤い部分の血を表しています。あなたは、あなたのコスチュームの観察を完了するか、白いソックスを着てサングラスを考慮したいかもしれない。多くのだけでなく、トリックまたは交渉するより多くのもののために彼らのコスチュームの上に置き

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