In this recipe, infusing half-and-half with a vanilla bean yields an extra-rich hit of flavor. The Mexican chocolate plus cocoa powder makes a thick brew that is then given some zip with chile powder. The recipe calls for ancho chile, but be sure you get pure, plain chile powder, not a chili powder spice blend.
Ancient Aztec Cacahuatl (Hot Chocolate)
5 cups half-and-half
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
8 ounces Mexican chocolate, such as Abuelita, chopped
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons (or to taste) ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons honey
Whipped cream for garnish
1-2 tablespoons slivered, unsalted almonds for garnish
In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, combine the half-and-half and vanilla bean. Heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
[amazon-product]1558322906[/amazon-product]Reduce heat to low and add the chocolate and the cocoa powder. Whisk to combine. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Watch it closely so that it does not boil over.
Add the chile powder, a little at a time, to taste. Stir in the honey and blend. Discard the vanilla bean.
Pour the hot chocolate into 8 small cups and top with the whipped cream and slivered almonds.
Makes 8 cups.
From “Hot Chocolate” by Fred Thompson
(photo: radek bayek)