To think that cacao was used a currency by the Maya before they used it for their famous Mayan hot chocolate. Yup, that’s right, cacoa beans were traded like money in the pre-classic days and valued more than jade, copper and black obsidian.
Thankfully someone came up with the great, great idea that cacao (cocoa is the English term) should be ground and made into a delicious drink of the gods, an idea that remains with mere mortals today.
No matter where you are National Hot Chocolate Day is a good excuse to mix up this glorious drink. If you are in Playa del Carmen or Cancun, take a trip into Ah Cacao and have a real Mayan hot chocolate. Starbucks has no idea how a real Hot chocolate is made. Once you have Ah Cacao, you never go back!
There are a few versions of Mexican Hot Chocolate. There is the authentic recipe made with cinnamon and cocoa, there is the spicy hot chocolate where cocoa meets powdered chili, and there is the famous hot chocolate shot. The hot chocolate shot is similar to an espresso but it is 100% chocolate, and if you want a little bit of espresso mixed in, we say go for it! Glorious!
The only difference between local hot chocolate and what you may make at home is the view. We get the beach, you get a view of the snow out your window. You get a fireplace, we get a sea breeze drifting over our bodies….hmmmm…I think I like ours better.
Put 1/4 cup sugar, the cocoa powder, and 1/8 tsp. salt in a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Pour in the remaining milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla and cayenne and reduce the heat to low. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is a little frothy, 1 minute. Add more cayenne to taste, if you like.
Divide the hot chocolate among 6 mugs and top each with a dollop of the whipped cream, marshmallows or ice cream . Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top and serve.
Check out Ah Cacao if you want someone else to make your hot chocolate.