In mid-February, we welcome thoughts of bright flowers, chocolate and just having fun with people we love. Valentine’s Day is a perfect chance to indulge and be indulged. In our area it’s a good distraction from snow and cold, even though the late day sun on the snow can be beautiful through a window.
Hot chocolate is perfect for a warm and sharing moment and it’s even better with a little something extra.
I recently came across a couple of references to Spicy Hot Chocolate and Mexican Hot Chocolate, something I thought would be fun to share with friends and relatives. Because we love you Mystery Lovers Kitchen readers, Victoria and MJ carefully searched out recipes and tested them until we found the right configuration of ingredients and spiciness. We persevered, comparing the merits of cocoa and bar chocolate, coconut milk and cream and a variety of spices in varying quantities.
MJ had some Adobo chili powder and thought she’d try that. Huh. Turns out Adobo has garlic and onion in it and that combo didn’t do our chocolate any favors.
Our testers had some strange expressions on their faces after the Adobo experiment. This sent MJ off to Chilly Chilies, a hot shop specializing in hot sauce and spices, right in our snowy little village and online too, of course.
By the way, we thought you might like these interior shots including the guy who had a bit too much hot sauce.
They sent me home with ANCHO chili, a flavorful, medium spicy powder that did the trick. We have now settled on ancho chili powder, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Our best results were with good chocolate, chopped and melted with the other ingredients. When our next batch of Penzey’s wonderful cocoa arrives, we’ll have to give the cocoa versions another try
We were all very happy with the final results and will add it to our February faves. We know you’ll all make your own changes and also make suggestions. We’ll be glad to get them. There are worse things than making spicy hot chocolate variations.
SPICY MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE
All you need is:
2 cups of 2 % milk
2 cup of light cream (we used 5 %)
6 – 7 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate, plus extra for grating
1/4 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp ancho chili powder (this had a little bit of kick to it but not to much for us)
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp good quality vanilla
¼ tsp salt
½ cup whipping cream, optional
Grated chocolate for topping
ALL YOU DO IS:
Chop 6 ounces of chocolate. Grate a bit extra into a separate small dish.
Combine all ingredients, except whipping cream, in a saucepan.
Heat slowly over medium heat until well blended and chocolate is melted. You can try a whisk or give it a few whirs with an immersion blender to smooth it out.
Whip cream if you’re using and grate a bit of extra chocolate.
Serves four or sometimes three. Ahem.
Pour into mugs, top with dollops of whipping cream and grated chocolate. Enjoy!
Of course, if someone you love doesn’t like spicy (no names mentioned) make theirs separately in a small pot and let everyone be happy.
Speaking of love, we're mad about our readers and about the cover of our forthcoming fifth in the book collector series:
The Hammett Hex is available for pre-order HERE We hope you love this idea!