If you’ve tried Mexican Hot Chocolate before, you know that it has a different texture than regular Hot Cocoa with milk. The Mexican Chocolate tablets found at supermarkets have a slightly grainy texture and float in the milk mixture of this drink. Cocoa beans are grown in the States of Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca (even in Veracruz). I used to work in the State of Tabasco, in a region known as the Chontalpa. Here the hot and humid weather favors the production of cacao. Farmers go to work before dawn and come back home a little after noon. The heat is one of the reasons they prefer to work during the very early hours.
|Cacao Growers in Tabasco, Mexico. Photo Courtesy of "Gringo Loco"|
There are several brands of Mexican Chocolate sold here in the States, with “Abuelita” and “Ibarra” being the most common. In the southern states of Mexico, however, you can still buy local brands of chocolate made in an artisanal way, and the taste is different, of course. One of my old students sent me a care package that included a box of chocolate, from the brand “El Choco”. It tasted like those chocolates from the State of Oaxaca, which is also known for its chocolates. The ingredients in the box say: “Cocoa beans, milk, almonds, pecans, vanilla, milk and sugar.”
Since not everyone has access to Mexican Chocolate where they live, I decided to make my own mix and taste the results. I encourage you to try it yourself, I think you’ll love it. I even called the owner of the chocolate factory “El Choco” to make sure the ingredients were correct. Making your own mix adds more iron, calcium, antioxidants and fiber to your diet; I hope you’d rather give that to your kids than store-bought hot cocoa. You’ll find the recipe below, along with the recipe for the regular store-bought Mexican Chocolate.
SERVES 3 CUPS
- 2 1/2 Cups of milk
- 1 3 oz. Mexican Chocolate Tablet like Abuelita or Ibarra, cut in pieces.
NOTES: The chocolate package says to add 4 cups of milk for each 3oz. tablet but personally I find it a little weak if done that way.
1. Place chopped chocolate and milk in a medium sized sauce pan and simmer for a few minutes over low heat. The chocolate will start to dissolve while you stir it.
2. Once the Chocolate has dissolved, you can froth the mix using a Mexican molinillo or a hand held mixer to form a nice foam (being careful with the hot chocolate). You can also pour the mix into a blender (loosely covered) and mix to form the foam. Any way you mix it the chocolate will form a foam. Serve and enjoy!
Now for the Homemade Mexican Chocolate Mix:
- 2 cups of cold milk
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of ground almonds
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of ground pecans
- About 1/2 inch of cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Sugar (or more to suit your own taste)
- Try to use roasted or toasted almonds if possible. If you don’t find pecans and can only find almonds, that’s fine.
- A fine quality cocoa powder will be a plus in taste. Play around with the ingredients until you find your own favorite mix.
1. Place dry ingredients (ground pecans, almonds and cinnamon) along with the cocoa powder and sugar in a small bowl and mix well. The above pictures show an option to grind the nuts using a spice grinder. In case you don’t have a spice grinder but have one of those power blenders like a Vitamix , then mix all the ingredients with the cold milk in the blender until everything is well grinded. Another option is to buy almond meal and skip the pecans.
2. Once you have your dry mix, place in a small saucepan with the cold milk and vanilla. Mix thoroughly with the cold milk to avoid forming any clumps, this is very important since the almond and pecans slightly thicken the mix.
3. Now, place the saucepan over a low heat and simmer, whisking constantly until it starts to boil. You can use the molinillo or an immersion blender to form the foam.Serve warm.