Spicy Hot Chocolate

The very first cups of hot chocolate was drank by the Mayans over 2000 years ago.  They ground cocoa seeds into a paste and mixed it with water, cornmeal, chile peppers and other ingredients.  The drink was also said to have magical healing powers and was heavily popular amongst the Oltecs, Mayans and Aztecs*.

For this recipe, I used the a fine quality cocoa powder called Valrhona --this cocoa powder is among the richest, darkest "dutched" cocoa you can find.  It is considered by many chefs and gourmands around the world to produce the finest chocolate that contains no added fat or butter oil, resulting in less calories than most chocolate.*
The best part about this hot chocolate recipe is that it's healthy for you (minus the whipped cream). With no added sugar or minimal fats, this deep-bodied rich chocolate drink will excite your senses and leave you feeling happily satisfied.  With cocoa being richer in antioxidants than even red wine and green tea, you'll feel anything but guilty for enjoying a hot mug of this hot chocolate.
For thousands of years cocoa has been used to treat fatigue, fever, diarrhea, chest ailments and several stomach disorders. Cocoa beans is especially rich in antioxidants called Flavonoids -- which are beneficial to arterial health by reducing blood platelet buildup and shielding blood vessels from free radical damage*.  It is said by heating the chocolate, more antioxidants are released and makes absoprtion easier for the body.  According to the American Assoication for Advancement of Science, drinking hot chocolate helps you think better too by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
Ingredients for Spicy Hot Chocolate: Serves 4; prep time: 5 minutes total cooking time: 10 minutes
  • 4 cups organic skim milk
  • 1/4 cup Valrhona cocoa
  • 4 77% Dark cocoa discs
  • 1 teasponn cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • cocoa nibs and whipped cream for garnish

Heat the milk in a medium suacepan at medium high heat.  Heat until milk is scalded or almost boiling, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the cocoa powder, spices and chocolate discs and let it sit for 1 minute.  Using a whisk or hand blender, whisk the mixture until frothy.  Serve hot and top with whipped cream and sprinkle generously with cocoa nibs.  Garnish with hot chiles if desired.

I love this recipe, I could drink endless cups of this hot chocolate -- the richness of the cocoa, the tiny bite that settles on your tongue at the end, and the cocoa nibs...YOU GOTTA ADD THE COCOA NIBS!  (I found all of my ingredients at Central Market).   So there you have it, I've found the magical drinks of the gods and it's healthy, packed full of antioxidants and ridiculously fantastically DELICIOUS.  Yep.  You're welcome :)