Homemade Mexican hot chocolate is the ultimate in warmth and coziness. It’s one of my preferred Christmas and winter drinks – just nothing better than sitting by the fireplace with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate, a good book and warm socks. All three are comforting and stress-relieving, especially after a long day at work. And best of all, the ingredients in Mexican hot chocolate come with a myriad of super health benefits.
Let’s face it, the ingredient list in those grocery store single serve hot chocolate powder packets is very…concerning…to me, anyway. Let’s look at a list of ingredients from the nutrition label of a well-known brand of hot chocolate: Sugar, corn syrup, modified whey, cocoa (processed with alkali), hydrogenated coconut oil, nonfat milk, calcium carbonate, less than 2% of: salt, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglycerides, artificial flavor. All I can say is “oh my!” Who needs all those ingredients and artificial flavor when you can use real food, healthy ingredients? Even though this delicious hot chocolate treat is a bit indulgent, you will definitely feel good about the healthy ingredient list as well as making it as a “gift from your own kitchen.”
By the way, once your family tastes their first cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate chances are they will never will want those hot chocolate powder packets…and that’s a good thing!
Delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe
Makes 1 cup – approximately 8 ounces.
- 1 cup almond milk or coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 tbsp raw cacao
- 1/2 tsp organic vanilla
- pinch of Himalayan salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (grade B)
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving – optional)
- Long cinnamon sticks for stirrers (optional)
- Using a spoon mix the cinnamon, cacao, vanilla, salt, cayenne pepper and maple syrup into a thick paste in your cup/mug. Put aside.
- Add the almond or coconut milk to a saucepan and bring to a very slow roll over medium heat. Do not boil.
- Remove from heat and slowly pour a small amount into the cup/mug, stir the mixture until the paste has become a dark thick liquid, then continue pouring the remainder of the milk on top. Stir well.
- Pour the mix into your blender and blend until frothy.
- Pour into your cup/mug. Add whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.
- Add cinnamon stirrer, if preferred.
- Serve immediately.
The History of Mexican Hot Chocolate
The first to create their remarkable varieties of Mexican Hot Chocolate over 500 years ago, calling it xocatyl or chocolatl, were the Aztecs, Mayans and Olmecs. Usually mixed with maize, annatto, chiles and other spices, the elixir was then poured from a high level down into another vessel to create the ideal foam on top. The foam was thought to be a magical ingredient respected as the most potent part and containing aphrodisiac powers. When Hernando Cortés (Spanish conquistador) carried this recipe back to Spain, centuries later, the molinillo was fashioned to simplify the foaming process. The molinillo is used to froth the elixir by rubbing the wooden handle forcefully between your palms. However, your blender achieves this very same result, but with a less realistic experience.
Many versions of Mexican Hot Chocolate are popular in Mexico with each region having it’s own signature variation. I love the combination of cayenne and chocolate as it dilates the blood vessels and allows the body to receive the cacao better. You can add in layers of sweetness using your choice of local raw honey, maple syrup (grade B), and coconut crystals for healthier sugar options.
Living in Texas all of my life, I love cooking and eating authentic Mexican food. However, most of the Mexican recipes that we make in our home are more in the Tex-Mex family recipes than authentic Mexican. From breakfast tacos, Mexican rice, enchiladas and a sumptuous Mexican casserole, our family has a definite love for Mexican food. As many Texans do, our go-to menu for Christmas Eve dinner is always Mexican food. I grew up with this tradition and to this very day, it remains a Christmas tradition in our home.