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Thursday, May 5,2011

Mexican Hot Chocolate

By Danette Randall

May is here, and the countdown to wearing cute white jeans is on!

 

Oh, I’m a rebel in many ways — I drink red wine with fish and wear leggings well past the age of, umm, 35. But my white pants, I just can’t seem to buck the old rules of etiquette.

To make the month go by faster, I’ll be whipping up some fantabulous treats (we all know how much better you look in white pants after indulging in desserts), and this week’s recipe is Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Not just for Cinco De Mayo, my friends. This is a treat that works for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, and any time of year. It is richer than your average hot chocolate, and is made up of my favorite combos. Chocolate with spices — not just cinnamon, but chile powder. Fiery chiles mixed with bittersweet chocolate with a touch of sweetness creates a flavor like no other. This is a wake-up-your-senses kind of drink, a lot of flavor without any of the components fighting for top billing, just complementing and bringing out the best in each other. A kumbaya kind of dessert, if you will.

I’m using bittersweet chocolate instead of Mexican chocolate only to make it more convenient for the masses, although Boulder has some great Mexican markets where you could swing by and pick some up. Mexican chocolate tends to be granular in texture but has a creamy finish from the cocoa butter. All in all, you will love this drink/dessert, whatever chocolate you use.

I’m whipping my own cream (sounds dirty), because you know I find great pleasure in anything I get to dollop. Adding toasted almonds on top for some crunch and nutty flavor is just the finish this already-perfect treat deserves. If you are really in the mood to treat you and your guest to something special, how about adding a little Kahlua? Yes, please!

Just please don’t invite anyone over for this masterpiece that asks, “When is Cinco De Mayo?” Yeah, I have a few of those friends, they are the same ones that wear white before Memorial Day. Oh snaps!

Now, follow the directions, put some love into it and invite me over when it’s done.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

3 cups milk (whole or 2 percent)

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (plus more for garnish)

1 tsp. chile powder pinch of salt whipped cream

4-6 cinnamon sticks

1/4 cup toasted almonds

In medium-large saucepan over medium heat, stir together milk, water and chocolate chips, stir until chocolate melts.

Add sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, chile powder and salt. Heat for 8-10 minutes until hot and just starts to thicken (do not boil). Take off heat.

Pour or spoon into four large mugs or six regular-sized mugs. Top with whipped cream, a dash of cinnamon, toasted almonds and a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

Whipped cream

1 cup whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla

2-3 tbsp. powdered sugar

In large bowl, beat cream until peaks are about to form. Add vanilla and powdered sugar, and whip until stiff peaks form.

Note: I like it spicy — reduce cinnamon and chile powder if you prefer it a bit more mild. Chocolate shavings are a nice garnish. Put it in clear mugs for a nice presentation.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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