Chocolate originated in the Amazon basin and was transported throughout Central and South America in ancient times. The scientific name, Theobroma, means “food of the gods” and I can certainly see where they are coming from. The Maya first drank chocolate in drink form using chocolate, chilies, and cornmeal (the three Cs of early American cooking) they ground it into a paste and mixed it with water. Eventually the Spanairds came along and added milk and sugar. The Europeans also removed the chilies and added cinnamon. Of course, the US came along and made and instant version full of fake marshmallows and other nastiness which turned many off of this delicious drink. They key to making hot chocolate for me is to take it back to its roots and make, what we now call “Mexican Hot Chocolate” although really it is hot cocoa if you are making it from a powder and only hot chocolate if you are making it from chocolate bars.
For me it is the perfect winter drink because it is spicy hot and hot hot so you can ward off the chills in two seperate ways. I also like to make it because it is a little of this and a little of that and different every time. For that reason, I will give you a guidline with pinches and drops rather than teaspoons and tablespoons because you have to experiment and find what your perfect ratio of sweet to spicy is.
Heat the milk to warm and then slowly whisk in 1 heaping teaspoon of unsweetened coocoa powder
add 2 tsp of Sugar or 1 tsp Agave Nectar
a drop of vanilla extract
a drop of almond
a pinch of cinnamon
a tiny pinch of cayenne
a sprinkle of chili powder.
Whisk it all together, taste and adjust flavors and enjoy! Preferably in front of a warm fire cuddled up with a warm beagle. But don’t let him have any because dogs shouldn’t have chocolate. Or poinsettias. Or Ivy, apple seeds, raw onions, and grapes.