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.


Gloria Chadwick said...

Of course Cocoa Kahlua is your favorite! You still haven't returned my Kahlua, but at least I know where it went--into your hot cocoa! LOL.
We were all drinking King Alphonses Christmas night (with my daughter's Kahlua) and playing Tabu (a really fun word game) into the wee hours of the morning.

Reeni said...

I love the movie Chocolat!! What a bunch of delicious recipes. I like both hot cocoa and hot chocolate. I really want to try the Mayan Hot chocolate, yum!! Happy New Year!!

Megan said...

Happy New Year Teresa! Love all the chocolate recipes! But I think I'll start with the Cocoa Kahlua with my breakfast cassarole on New Years Day. Sounds perfect!

The Blonde Duck said...

Someone just gave me a box of butterfinger hot chocolate. I'll let you know how it is!

ValleyWriter said...

Teresa - just wanted to say Happy New Year and thank you for all of your kind words. I've really enjoyed all of your chocolate recipes over the last few months (they always make me hungry, though!). Let's toast our hot chocolate mugs to a very happy, healthy 2009 for both of us!

Chef E said...

I am glad I found this site for you. It is so hard to follow foodbuzz feeds, and I like being about to look down on the dashboard and see what you guys are up to!

Happy New Year to you!

Meryl said...

Wow! What an extensive post! I drink cocoa a lot during the cold weather (lo cal with nutra sweet), and hot chocolate is a special treat for a once-in-a-while thrill.

Thank you for all the delicious recipes. :)

Jenn said...

Hope the hot chocolate we got you for Christmas was good! I meant to tell you the last time that we talked on the phone that I bought some of the frozen hot chocolate mix from Williams Sonoma. I am so not a fan, but when you come to visit we'll have to make it for you!

Navita said...

new to ur blog...
wud luve it if u swing by my place sometime :)


Debinhawaii said...

I will drink either but give me the hot chocolate for sure. I am going to try a healthy recipe for a hot mint tea / cocoa drink--healthier but I am sure it is not as good as the recipes you have listed here! ;-)

Caitlin said...

Hurray for real chocolate! I first discovered homemade hot chocolate when I had no cocoa but had baking chocolate and milk...cinnamon and vanilla make it so good. Also with a dollop of mascarpone whipped cream!

Fabby's Cupcaker ;) said...


Feliz Año 2009!!!

Ya tengo tu libro! Está genial! No puedo esperar para hacer esos deliciosos muffins de tequila. Te mando un fuerte abrazo!

Haley McAdams said...

Great list of chocolate drink recipes! I love to drink the original Mayan and Aztec chocolate drink. Just curious. Thanks!

Haley McAdams
Food Manager Certification Texas


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