Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate

Aztec Chocolate I wrote an article for the Irish Times (should be in the Dec. 5th issue) about chocolate, and as part of my research I found out that until the 1830s, chocolate was only a beverage. This got me thinking about doing more variations on the hot chocolates we serve in the shops, and it seemed to me the first place to start was with an homage to Montezuma, the Aztec king of chocolate.

Myth has it that he drank 50 cups of chocolate a day, using golden goblets that were not re-used. He considered chocolate to be a great aphrodisiac, and would always down a goblet or two before visiting his concubines.

Jalapeno PepperChocolate, for the Aztecs and for the Mayans before them, contained spices including hot chilli peppers. This was echoed in the movie Chocolate.

In any case, here’s my recipe. I think it’s a great holiday drink, especially on a cold night!

Murphys Aztec Hot Chocolate Recipe

200 g chocolate (good quality 70%)
800 ml milk
60 gm sugar (4 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Very small pinch dried jalapeno (about 1/16th teasp)

Melting Chocolate1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
2. Heat the milk, sugar, and spices together to about 45C and whisk to make sure the spices are dispersed and the sugar is dissolved.
3. Strain to remove the chilli pepper.
4. Add the warmed milk to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing all the time, to create a smooth emulsion.
5. Warm to drinking temperature (55C).
6. Garnish with grated chocolate and/or whipped cream and enjoy!

Six servings.

1. The quality will really depend on the quality of chocolate that you use. I suggest Valrhona, Callebaut, or Lindt dark chocolate.
2. The amount of sugar will vary depending on the chocolate. Obviously you can add more if you want it sweeter. Adding less won’t necessarily make it more “chocolate-y” as the taste buds need some sweetness to bring out the flavour of the chocolate.
3. Beware of the jalapeno. Taste the milk as it’s cooking, and strain it if it’s getting too spicy. It should warm you, not burn you!

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7 thoughts on “Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate

  1. I personally love drinking chocolate, but there is a big difference between hot chocolate and drinking chocolate. I found a lot of info and good recipes at http://www.drinkingchocolates.com. They even have flavorings you can add like raspberry and hot chili. Yum! The Italian Style Drinking Chocolate at drinkingchocolates.com is so delicious – better than any cocoa mix I’ve ever had at least.

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