Did I Hear Holiday Season Treat?

Do you want some treats? I have a recipe for "Italian Hot Cocoa" that's more like a pudding with a spicy Mayan twist. It's absolutely delicious. If you love hot chocolate you'll adore this one...I've made this for my beloved and since he adores chocolate it was a real hit. 

Mayan Hot Cocoa

I trust you'll obtain the non-GMO, ethically sourced, fair trade, fat-free, gluten-free and calorie-free versions of the ingredients which are to follow.

Yields 2 servings. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 5 minutes.

Ingredients:

3.5 Cups Milk of Choice (I use unsweetened almond.)

3 TBSP Cornstarch

3 TBSP Unsweetened Powdered Cocoa or Cacao 

3 TBSP Granulated White Table Sugar (or sub 3+ Splenda packets to personal taste preference.)

2 OZ Dark Chocolate, Baker's Chocolate or a Hershey Bar (or sub a handful of chocolate chips.)

1 Dash Kosher Salt

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

1/2 TSP Sprinkle Cinnamon

1/2 TSP Powdered Cloves

1/2-1 TSP Allspice 

**OPTIONAL: Whipped Cream & Cinnamon / Cinnamon Sticks as your garnish 

Instructions:

While most recipes would advise you to carefully combine all ingredients blending wet and dry separately and then together through a meticulous perfected process, I do not. I dump all of the above into a pot, turn on the heat to medium-high and whisk. (Yes, a whisk is absolutely necessary.) You'll whisk until it's the thickness you desire...

Whisk about 3-4 minutes until all combined and continue whisking. Over the next 1-2 minutes, your hot chocolate will go from liquid to an extremely thick custard-like consistency resembling chocolate pudding.

That said, you'll want to bring it to just the consistency you prefer and immediately remove from heat, serving at once. This becomes thick extremely fast so be wary. While this makes an incredible drink, you'll need to remove from the heat as soon as it's uniform in color and texture. It will go from grayish-brown to deep chocolate. If you prefer a spoonable custard style, then keep on whisking for the balance of your minute.

Immediately pour into 2 individual dessert dishes, garnish with your whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon or shaved chocolate, and enjoy. 

Substitutions:

Yes, you can sub your sweeteners and your milk preferences. You can even add almond extract or another - perhaps even an after dinner liquor - in lieu of the spices I've used in my version of this recipe. Basically, you can really make this your own recipe and tweak it however you like.

This is cinnamon-y and clove-y and if you're feeling particularly creative, you can serve it with some star anise or a cinnamon stick. Hope you enjoyed! 

Where This Recipe Originated:

Basically, I was searching a creamy chocolatey treat and I happened across a recipe for Italian Hot Chocolate which I'd never actually heard of before. After trying it, I was reading an online recipe entry contest for us homemaker types to have some fun with and in reading the recipe contest rules, I learned that the recipe MUST contain cinnamon. I was about to enter my favorite baked apple crumble recipe when it suddenly hit me: dark chocolate with cinnamon. It would taste something like Haagan-Daz 'Mayan Chocolate,' wouldn't it?

That flavor came out around 2007 or so, no? That ice cream is wonderful but is always so expensive so I only got to have it on rare occasions. But, I figured if I could tweak this recipe adding cinnamon, then it might taste really wonderful. So, I gave it a try. My hopes were not disappointed and it really did taste wonderful. It was a little similar to that wonderful ice cream flavor too. 

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Around here, we're more partial to the more intense dark chocolate versus the lighter cocoa so if you happen to prefer a stronger, more potent chocolate flavor then I can suggest adding a teaspoon of instant coffee or some espresso powder (maybe one TSP or so.) It adds depth to any chocolate recipe.

I also like the fact that this tasted like I'd invested a lot of time in the kitchen although I'd not, and I loved the way it became a spoonable dessert at that 2 minute mark on the heat. It is that thickness which can compliment fresh berries, be layered over any kind of chocolate cake kind of like a ganache. Since it's like 5 minutes, it's a fast and easy treat. When we're able to entertain again I'll be serving it.  

Okay, so that's it and I hope you've enjoyed! If you try this recipe let me know!

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