I think I’m going to do a mini series on hot chocolate. It’s the most wonderful thing on a cold morning, and I’d rather have a luxurious hot chocolate after dinner than any other dessert I can think of. There are so many of them to explore, from different cultures, with different chocolates, flavorings, and types of milk. And let’s not forget that hot chocolate, just like coffee, can be ‘livened up’ with alcohols and liqueurs. So it’s decided. Let’s call this Episode One.
The Mexicans really ‘own’ chocolate more than any other culture. The cacao bean originated in Mexico and South America, and chocolate’s been consumed there for centuries. So really, this is the granddaddy of all hot chocolates. It’s flavored with cinnamon, star anise, and Mexican chocolate, but gets its velvety pudding-like consistency from masa harina.
You can find tablets of Mexican chocolate in the international aisle of the supermarket. It’s mixed with various spices, and sugar, and has sort of a grainy texture when you cut into it. The licorice flavored star anise is common in Eastern cuisines, but here it’s more of a specialty spice. Keep an eye out for it, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry, just use the cinnamon. I’ve talked a lot about masa harina, the finely ground corn meal made from lime treated hominy. Your should find it either in the International aisle, or with the grains and flours. Don’t substitute corn meal, that won’t work.
This is a very distinctive hot chocolate, probably unlike anything you’ve ever had.
If you’re used to hot chocolate out of a packet, you owe it to your self to try this. This is like a thick chocolate porridge. Almost breakfast in itself.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 anise star
- 1/8 cup masa harina
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablet Mexican chocolate (about 3 oz)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Bring the water, cinnamon stick and anise to a simmer in a saucepan. Turn off the heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
- Remove the spices and turn the heat back on under the saucepan. Whisk in the masa harina, and when it is combined, add the milk, chocolate and sugar.
- Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, whisking often. The mixture will come to a boil and thicken, When it is thick and smooth, pour in mugs. You will need a spoon!
Slightly adapted from the Muy Bueno Cookbook