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.
(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.
4 heaping tablespoons dark roasted coffee
8 cups water
¼ cup nutmeg
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped Mexican Chocolate
1 cup half and half (or milk if you prefer)
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
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
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
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
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.