Chocolate is an exceptional food and ingredient because of the cacao plant. This plant thrives in tropical regions that are all equidistant from the equator. Cacao can become a solid, a liquid, or a powder. The chocolate itself comprises several hundred complex chemicals, including stimulants and antioxidants that are now understood to have a positive effect on heart and health. Chocolate is the top-ranking flavor for most Americans. It has a wonderful taste, and its miracle chemicals can stimulate and calm our senses.
The cacao tree originated in the upper Amazon basin. It was identified as a crucial crop more than 2,000 years ago when it grew in the tropical rainforests of Mesoamerica. The first people known to have produced chocolate from the cacao plant were the ancient cultures of what is now Mexico and Central America. The word chocolate comes from the Mayan term “xocoatl” and cocoa from the Aztec name “cachuatl”. The Maya were well-known chocoholics, and many vessels have been found that depict their fondness for all things chocolate.
Making Hot Chocolate together is a great way to bond with your kids and get creative in the kitchen!
A very basic recipe is to melt 1 ounce of chopped semi-sweet chocolate into 4 cups of hot (but not boiling) milk. Stir until chocolate is melted and creamy. This makes 4 cups of hot chocolate.
Once you have the base you can add any flavor you like. You can also change the base ingredients. Here are some ideas:
• Make the base with a different type of chocolate. Try dark chocolate, white chocolate, or a flavored chocolate bar.
• Make the base with different types of milk. Experiment with skim, 2%, almond milk, rice milk, or add a splash of coconut milk.
• Experiment with extracts. Just a drop or two of extract is enough to change the flavor of your hot chocolate and kids can choose whatever flavor they like to be add to their glass. Flavors to try: Vanilla, Banana, Raspberry, Almond, Maple, Orange. Check out the extracts near the baking aisle for inspiration.
• Stir it up. Use a candy cane, cinnamon stick, old fashioned stick candy, or a spoon dipped in chocolate (another creative kitchen activity) to mix your hot chocolate.
• Spice it up. Ground spices are another great way to get creative. Try a sprinkle of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, pumpkin pie spice, even cayenne pepper.
• Top it. Think beyond marshmallows, although you could try making your own. Make flavored whipped cream, a tiny scoop of ice cream, some grated chocolate, or toasted chopped nuts.
This wonderful recipe will satisfy any heart young or old. Chocolate consumption is widespread in Spain, and you can get a cup of this rich delicacy at all hours of the day. I hope you enjoy this wonderful recipe and will visit our website for more exquisite recipes.
Spanish Hot Chocolate
Makes 1-3 Servings (Depending On Mug Size)
4 1/2 cups whole milk
10 1/2 ozs. bittersweet chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa) broken into small pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Combine the milk chocolate and sugar in a medium saucepan.
2. Whisk the milk mixture vigorously over high heat until the chocolate and sugar dissolve, about 10 minutes. Do not let it boil.
3. Pour the thick liquid into mugs of choice and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
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