Hot chocolaty beverages have been enjoyed since the 16th century, and back then, many believed that they had medicinal benefits. The Spanish brought the drink back from the New World to Europe, but at the time, it was made with spicy chili powders. Back in Spain, they tried adding sugar instead and the rest is history. Nowadays, hot chocolate is enjoyed by people of all ages when they need a sweet wintertime warm-up. You can always buy the instant packets in the grocery store, but there's no substitution for the real thing -- a high-quality melted chocolate, whipped hot milk and of course, the marshmallow or whipped cream topper. Even the most basic hot chocolate is a treat, but here are five recipes that will take your cocoa to the next level.
Spicy Hot Chocolate
The Mayans drank their hot chocolate with chili powder instead of sugar. The addition of the red pepper flavor steeped in matches the sweetness of the missing sugar, but provides a better taste complement to the chili powder.
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chili pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
- Pour milk into a medium saucepan and heat milk until hot, but not boiling.
- Add chopped chocolate and sugar, stirring until it's blended well.
- Add cinnamon, chili powder and red pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Remove red pepper strips and pour into mugs.
Mocha Hot Chocolate
What's commonly known as mocha is simply the tasty goodness of the combination of coffee and hot chocolate. If you're in a coffee house, your mocha will likely be made with a bold shot of espresso, but mochas can also be made simply by replacing some of the milk in a traditional hot chocolate recipe with already brewed coffee. This drink is not only a delicious hot beverage, but can also be enjoyed in the summertime over ice.
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- 1/2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- Whipped cream
- Chop chocolate into small pieces.
- Combine milk, coffee and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir consistently until it comes to a foamy boil.
- Take off of the heat and whip with a whisk.
- Pour into mugs and garnish with a spoonful of whipped cream. You can also substitute a handful of marshmallows.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
The twist to Mexican hot chocolate is the addition of cinnamon and panocha, which is essentially Mexican brown cane sugar that comes in blocks. If you really want your drink to be authentic, you can even try to locate some semi-sweet Mexican chocolate. Ibarra is a popular brand.
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 teaspoon panocha
- Pour milk into a saucepan on medium heat.
- Combine cinnamon and vanilla and whisk.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind a block of panocha into a fine powder, and whisk 1 teaspoon into the milk mixture.
- Rinse the mortar and pestle, then place the chocolate in the mortar and use the pestle to pound the chocolate into a powder. Add to milk mixture and whisk.
- Continue stirring until all of the chocolate has melted.
- Pour into your mug of choice and sip away.
Hot Chocolate with Ginger
The addition of ginger to your traditional hot chocolate recipe does more than just add a spicy kick. Ginger is not only a great detoxifier, but it also has natural anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe gastrointestinal and digestive issues.
- 3 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped.
- Put chocolate pieces in a saucepan and add 1/2 cup of milk. Warm over low heat and stir constantly to avoid burning.
- Once chocolate is completely melted, add the rest of the milk and ginger.
- Heat thoroughly, but avoid bringing to a boil.
- Pour chocolate through strainer into mugs to remove ginger.
Hot Chocolate with Rum
Here's a yummy recipe for a hot chocolate libation, perfect for the over-21 crowd.
- Break chocolate into pieces.
- Combine chocolate, milk, cinnamon stick, honey and sugar in a saucepan and heat on low until chocolate is completely melted.
- Add vanilla and rum and whip with a whisk.
- Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into mugs.
You don't have to go out to have a killer cocktail if you have a killer bar setup at home. We'll tell you exactly what you need to make it happen.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- "Drinking Chocolate." Allchocolate.com, 2009. http://www.allchocolate.com/enjoying/drinking-chocolate/
- "Ginger." Whfoods.com, 2009. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72
- "Hot Chocolate? Hot Cocoa? The chocoholic's guide to the history and use of delicious hot beverages!" davesgarden.com, 2009. http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2105/
- "Hot Chocolate - South American Style." Allrecipes.com, 2009. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Hot-Chocolate---South-American-Style/Detail.aspx
- Jaworski, Stephanie. "Hot Chocolate." Joyofbaking.com, 2009. http://www.joyofbaking.com/breakfast/HotChocolate.html
- Lawson, Nigella. "Alcoholic Hot Chocolate." Foodnetwork.com, 2009. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/alcoholic-hot-chocolate-recipe/index.html
- Smythe, Lynn. "Authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate." Suite 101.com, September 3, 2009. http://herbsspices.suite101.com/article.cfm/authentic_mexican_hot_chocolate#ixzz0WIQJQKQ6