If you haven’t heard of warm, amazing Mexican hot chocolate, then prepare to have a new addiction under your belt. Yes, you can find Mexican/Mexi-hot chocolate at some local cafes, but it’s never quite right. I’ve encountered places where they squirt some cinnamon syrup in regular cocoa or down-right have no idea what I’m talking about (I’m serious, one time a cashier gave me a bewildered look and said, “wh-what, is that??”, as if it were some sort of code for: I have a bomb in my briefcase). So let’s stick to making it at home, where you have the pleasure of playing some smooth tunes in the background while you drink up the whole freaking pot you just made.
As you can see in the photos above, I made my chocolate (pronounced: chocola-teh) with a “sweet chocolate tablet”. The recipe that follows uses this method because this is how I’ve always had it as a kid at my grandma’s house in So-Cal, in Mexico made by my mom’s relatives, and at home with family. Some people go the extra mile by starting with milk, melted chocolate, cinnamon sticks, and then adding sugar and other spices, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that making it with these tablets is equally or more so authentic. It’s extremely convenient and common to find whether you’re in Mexico or the U.S and more practical when confronted with a thirsty familia.
Common brands are Abuelita (my all time favorite) and Ibarra (used above). Unfortunately, Fred Meyer down the street didn’t have Abuelita, so I had to settle with the latter. They are classified as “sweet chocolate” because the main ingredient is in fact sugar and not chocolate. They are infused with cinnamon, oils, and sometimes salt to make it a delectable snack sometimes when nobody is looking. When you finish making your pot of Mexican hot chocolate, you must must must must!! have it with warm French bread for dipping (or other Mexican bread you come across). I cannot emphasize or describe the sheer deliciousness of fluffy bread soaked with cinnamon-y, sweet hot chocolate—so just trust me with this one guys!
Photo above taken from Taza de Chocolate food blog, which you guys should definitely check out!
On a final note, I wanted to add a photo of the Abuelita brand chocolate with a traditional molinillo (pronounced: mo-li-knee-yo), which is that funky looking stick above. It is a traditional whisk or beater when making hot beverages such as atole, champurrado, and hot chocolate! It’s used by holding the thin end of the molinillo between your palms and rotating back and forth (like you’re starting a fire). This creates the yummy froth in the drink that gets stuck on your upper lip and makes you feel like a little kid again.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Yield: 5-6 servings
2 Sugar chocolate tablets (Abuelita, Ibarra, La Fronterra Brands), about 180g
1 quart of whole milk
1 medium cinnamon stick
French bread for dipping
Heat the milk in a large pot over medium-low heat. Be sure to continuously stir as to prevent the milk from burning. Add the cinnamon stick. At this point, if you French bread is not warm, you can go ahead and turn your oven to 300F and stick the bread on a baking sheet to warm. Once the milk starts to boil (small bubbles form), add the chocolate and stir to dissolve. You will notice some small pieces that might not dissolve, in which case, you may take the milk and chocolate and blend until pieces are small. When the hot chocolate is nice and frothy, you can serve with a nice hefty piece of French bread.
If some hot chocolate remains, you may store in the fridge for about four days, reheating if needed. Mexican hot chocolate tastes fantastic cold as well though! You could even add protein powder to make an extra yummy to-go morning shake (I just thought of that!!).