Mexican Hot Chocolate

Happy Halloween! This hot chocolate is rich and decadent with belly-warming spices. Perfect after a cold, dark night of trick-or-treating. Feel free to use milk lower in fat, but it won’t be as rich. For the chocolate, I love to use Ghirardelli.

adapted from: Ina Garten’s Recipe
makes: approximately 2+ cups

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 ½  oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

½  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I ♥ Saigon cinnamon)
Small pinch cayenne pepper
Long cinnamon sticks, optional for stirring.
*googly eyes

Place the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, stir in the chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper with a wooden spoon and allow to steep for 3 minutes. Reheat the hot chocolate over low heat until it simmers. Strain the chocolate into a glass measuring cup and pour into mugs. Stir with cinnamon sticks, if desired.

*For the googly eyes: I used marshmallows, Crows (licorice gumdrops made by Tootsie Roll), and small red coated chocolates (or some type of small red candy). Puncture the bottom of the Crows with a toothpick and push in a red candy. Pinch out a little hole in the marshmallows and stick the gumdrops in. Skewer and place atop the mug.

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