Monday, December 29, 2008

Hot Chocolate versus Hot Cocoa

Is there a difference? You betcha! You can’t tell by looking at these cups, but once you taste them the difference is amazing. Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder that is cocoa liquor, the term used for unsweetened baking chocolate. The cocoa liquor is pressed and half to three quarters of its fat (cocoa butter) removed and then the remaining solids are pulverized. Hot chocolate (drinking chocolate) is made with by melting actual chocolate bar shavings in milk and cream. There is a distinct difference in flavor, texture and “mouth feel”. Some chocolate purist’s will only drink Hot Chocolate claiming that the dry cocoa powder when prepared as per directions is overly sweetened and losses it’s chocolate flavor. I believe that it is all a matter of preference. I’m certainly not going to turn down a cup of hot steaming cocoa if it is offered to me. But I did want to make that distinction to you. There is a difference. Which do you prefer? I grew up drinking Hot Cocoa and have since evolved to Hot Chocolate. But believe me, I’ve never been one to turn down chocolate in any form. Enjoy these recipes and have fun making up some of your own.
Bebida de Chocolate(Hot Chocolate Drink)

6 sweet chocolate squares (Mexican Chocolate works best)
4 cups of milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Place chocolate and milk in large saucepan. Heat over medium temperature until chocolate has melted. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add cinnamon and vanilla. Pour into blender and process a few seconds at high speed until chocolate milk is frothy. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

Cocoa Kahlua
(This is my favorite.)
1-quart whole milk
1 quart half and half
2 round disks Mexican chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup Kahlua

Break chocolate disks into wedges. Heat milk and half and half to steaming but not boiling. Pour into blender with chocolate wedges and vanilla. Blend until chocolate mixes into the milk mixture. Add Kahlua and pulse several times to mix in. Serve in mugs. (You can top this off with whipped cream and cinnamon powder if you like.) Makes 8 cups.

Frothy Choco-Mex Coffee

½ cup packed light brown sugar
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 large strip orange rind (no bitter white part)
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 ½ cups hot strong coffee
¾ cup half-and-half, warmed
orange rind, cinnamon sticks, chocolate-covered coffee beans, for garnish (optional)

Whirl sugar, chocolate, rind, allspice and cinnamon in blender to chop finely. Add coffee. Whirl until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add warmed half-and-half. Whirl until frothy. Strain. Serve in cups. Garnish with rind, cinnamon sticks, and coffee beans if you wish.

Mex-Mocha Coffee

4 heaping tablespoons dark roasted coffee
8 cups water
1-tablespoon cinnamon
¼ cup nutmeg
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped Mexican Chocolate
1 cup half and half (or milk if you prefer)
1-teaspoon vanilla

Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the coffee grounds before brewing. Add water to your coffee maker and brew coffee.

Meanwhile, over low heat in saucepan, combine half and half, brown sugar, and chocolate. Stir constantly to melt chocolate and prevent it from burning. Stir in brewed coffee and add 1-teaspoon vanilla. Serve hot. Makes 8 cups.

Mayan Hot Chocolate
Have you seen the movie, Chocolat? This is like the hot chocolate that was served in the movie.

2 cups boiling water
1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed (with gloves)
5 cups light cream or whole or nonfat milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate or 3 tablets Mexican chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar or honey, or to taste
l tablespoon almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine
Whipped cream

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add chile pepper to boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain water and set aside.In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves. Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add chile-infused water, a little at a time, tasting to make sure the flavor isn't too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk.
Serve in small cups and offer ground almonds or hazelnuts and whipped cream.

Chocolate for Churro Dunking

4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups milk
1 tbsp cornstarch (also known as cornflour and is the powder that causes the thickening)
4 tbsp sugar

Place the chocolate and half the milk in a pan and heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk and whisk into the chocolate with the sugar. Cook on low heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate is thickened, about five minutes. Add extra cornstarch if it doesn't start to thicken after 5 minutes. Remove and whisk smooth. Pour and serve in cups or bowls for dunking churros. Do not pour over churros, but use the mix for dunking churros after every bite. Served warm.

Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa

2 cups powdered sugar
1-cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1-teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Hot water
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water.
Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. This also works great with warm milk

Copycat Starbucks Chantico Drinking Chocolate

2 bags (24 ounces) chocolate chips
5 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
1-tablespoon vanilla
Melt the chocolate chips in the milk and cream over low heat. Add vanilla.

There you have it everyone. These few recipes should keep you warm over the next month or two. Don’t be afraid to experiment with spices, flavoring, marshmallows, liqueurs, coffees, milk, cream and water. Till the next time, I wish everyone a beautiful and safe New Year filled with love, health, peace, joy and prosperity. Abrazos y besos.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chocolate Wine

You should have seen me at the supermarket. I could hardly contain myself when I found this magnificent bottle of wine. CHOCOLATE Wine. You can smell the aroma of cocoa and dark chocolate upon opening the bottle. It also contains raspberries, which mixed in perfectly with the chocolate. How special, I thought, it would be to make my Grandmothers recipe of biscochos and serve them with a chilled glass of this delicious wine. So, check out the wine section of your market and treat yourself to a special little Christmas present.

The wine is called "Chocolate d'Vine" . It's bottled by Southwest Wines out of Deming, New Mexico. It cost $12. I loved it.

Annie’s Polvorones

2 pounds of flour
1 pound of lard
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup warm milk
Cinnamon-sugar mixture for coating

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add lard. Cut lard into flour mixture with a pastry blender (or do it the way my grandmother taught me; with your two clean hands, scoop up flour and lard and gently rub between the palms of your hands). Continue this until flour-lard mixture converts to pea-size pieces. Add warm milk. Combine until well blended. Do not knead dough for too long, as it tends to toughen the pastry - just like with pie pastry. Roll out small sections of the dough between two pieces of waxed paper or parchment paper. Remove top layer of paper and cut dough with cookie cutters dipped in flour or powdered sugar. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 12 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Allow to cool for 6 to 8 minutes. Coat cooled cookies with cinnamon sugar mixture.
Makes approximately 5-6 dozen small polvorones.

This is my grandmother's recipe for polvorones (biscochos). She never wrote it down, but rather taught me (show and tell) how to make them when I was 12 or 13. I in turn have taught my daughter Lily, my daughter-in-law Jenn and my niece Malia how to make this wonderful recipe.

Cheers to you my friends. I love you all.
The Story of

It's a romantic full-moon, when Pedro said, "Hey, mamacita, let's do Weeweechu."

Oh no, not now, let's look at the moon!" said Rosita.

Oh, c'mon baby, let's you and I do Weeweechu. I love you and it's the perfect time," Pedro begged.

"But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon." replied Rosita.

Please, corazoncito, just once, do Weeweechu with me."

Rosita looked at Pedro and said, "OK, one time, we'll do Weeweechu."

Pedro grabbed his guitar and they both sang.....

"Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas,Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shop Chocolate

There are 18 shopping days left til Christmas. So I thought I'd give you some ideas and some "chocolate" suggestions. What do you give someone who has all they need or want? CHOCOLATE! Go to THE CHOCOLATE SHOP and see if you find something inexpensive, something that you can get online (and not fight the crowded stores), to be delivered to you door (or you recipient's door), and absolutely chocolatey!
The selection includes everything for a chocolate Christmas; books, candy, chocolate, movies, clothing, linens, small appliances and a really cool assortment of stocking stuffers.

Cruise the store and see if there is something you'd like to buy for someone or for yourself.

Give Chocolate for Christmas
Don't forget that you can also purchase the Mi Chita's Mexican Chocolate Dessert Ecookbook for only $3.95.
Buy Now by clicking

You can forward the ecookbook to a friend or family member by email along with your holiday greetings.

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