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Mexican Hot Chocolate

A good hot chocolate does not start with brown dust and boiling water.

And a homemade Mexican hot chocolate is such a sweet delight that once you try it you will want to keep the pantry constantly stocked with the ingredients to make it.

Drinking chocolate has been enjoyed for thousands of years, and according to archeologists the Olmecs are thought to have first used cacao around 1500-400 BC, followed by the Maya.

The cacao bean was revered for its monetary value as well as its health giving properties.

Made from the roasted beans of the cacao plant, water and spices were added to make it into a rich beverage. The decadent drink has historically been used for a variety of medicinal purposes including treating fevers and fatigue, improving the appearance of the skin and aiding digestion and stomach ailments.

This foodnetwork recipe provided by Marcela Valladolid for Aztec hot chocolate is a delicious recipe that will sustain energy levels and raise the expectations for all future hot chocolates. Heated on the stovetop and simmered for about 10 minutes, Mexican chocolate, which usually comes in disks, can be chopped and then whisked thoroughly. Quality semi or bittersweet chocolate can be used in place of Mexican chocolate however it will not contain the spices included in the disk variety. The chocolate is combined with a mixture of sugar, whole milk, vanilla beans, cinnamon and a hint of dried chile. When warm and blended it is topped with thick, whipped cream.

If you like the authentic versions but want to give it a bit of a twist, consider putting in a few drops of natural flavorings like pure peppermint oil or orange essence drops for a hint of additional flavor.

If you really want to tap into your inner gourmet, try Martha Stewart’s recipe for homemade marshmallows for a sweet side to go with the spicy hot chocolate. Interestingly, unlike today’s concoctions, marshmallows used to be made from an actual marshmallow plant called Althaea officinalis.

The health benefits and relaxing properties of cacao are perfectly served up in a simple yet enthralling cup of hot chocolate. Homemade Mexican hot chocolate is another reason to skip the packaged variety and make your own.

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