Oh...all the chocolate goodness!
Most of the times we think of hot chocolate and we think of Swiss Miss in a cup of warm milk. While there is nothing wrong with that...I really do have a whole lot more to offer on hot chocolate. I guess we should start with the history.
Imagine this...Tenochetlan (Mexico City) in 1400 AD. Capital of the Aztec empire. A daily drink made of Cocoa paste melted in hot water, corn meal and chili pepper, had a bitter taste. Not at all like what we drink today. While this drink was available to all it was popular with in the elite class of Aztecs. This drink was called xocōlātl (shocolatl). This drink was soon to be discovered by the Spaniards during their conquest of Mexico and spread to Europe in 1528. Sugar was introduced to hot chocolate in the 17th century. This is how we know the delicacy which became a hot commodity and to this day remains a hot commodity in modern times.
To this day in Mexico, it is a drink used for special occasions and celebrations. Unlike what is known throughout the world as hot chocolate, in Mexico we have a variety of ways to make it. The traditional style, which is bitter. Atole which is made with water, corn starch, sugar and some other spices. Champurrado, which is made with masa, milk, sugar and other spices. And finally, Chocolate Caliente, which is made with Milk and sugar.
As for my family, we love them all, but my kids especially love it when I make Chocolate Caliente. This time though I added peppermint to mine with such a simple little trick.
1) We are going to start with the chocolate. Traditional Mexican chocolate comes in dark bitter chocolate with no milk and very hard. Because of this you will have to grate the chocolate bar. This chocolate already comes with sugar and a bit of cinnamon in it. This is why I did not add sugar as one of the ingredients necessary.
2) Set the flame on low flame. Keeping the flame low will keep the milk from burning and sticking to the sides of your pot.
4) Add in a stick of cinnamon and a star anise. This will add a bit of spice and flavor. Continue ot whisk until heated through for about another 5-8 minutes.
Ready to serve!
5) Now comes the BEST part! Get your marshmallows and peppermint sticks ready! If you plan to serve this with Peppermint Schnapps now is the time to add it to your cup if you want a kick to get your party started. If not that's fine too. Ladle in the hot chocolate to your cup and top off with marshmallows. The peppermint flavor will come when you add the peppermint stick (that's if you didn't add Schnapps) as it softens and melts. **Hint...you can add whipped cream if you like too**
You will be pleasantly surprised at how tasty this comes out with out added sugar. I hope that you make this wonderful treat for your holiday event or even on a cold winter day. Share pics of the recipes you have tried with me on myFacebook page.
You can find deals on some of items I used here.