Hot Chocolate History And Recipe

There is a difference between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate. Learn how to make many varieties of an age old favorite here.

Cocoa first arrived in Europe in 1528. After spotting Aztec Indians grinding cocoa beans in Mexico and using them to make a beverage, a recipe found its way into Spain. The original hot cocoa recipe was a mixture of ground cocoa beans, water, wine and peppers. It didn't take long for Spaniards to begin heating the mixture and sweetening it with sugar. After being introduced in England, milk was added to the after dinner treat.

By 1828, the first cocoa powder producing machine had been developed, which generated a less acidic, processed cocoa. The new form of cocoa was easier to blend with warm milk or water.

Today, there are two types of warmed chocolate drinks. Hot cocoa is the less fatening variety, made with milk and real chocolate. Hot chocolate is a velvety textured drink, made with various spices or liqueurs.

OLD WORLD HOT CHOCOLATE

(Makes 4 cups)

6oz. semisweet chocolate

1pt. heavy cream

Vanilla

Cinnamon

Whipped Cream

In a double boiler, melt chocolate until it is smooth. Blend in cream and heat just to the boiling point, stirring frequently. Add a pinch of cinnamon and a drop of vanilla. Pour into cups and top with one spoonful whipped cream.

WHITE PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE

(Makes 4 cups)

2/3c chilled whipping cream

6 peppermint candies, crushed

3-1/2c milk

8oz. white chocolate, chopped

1/2t peppermint extract

Beat cream and crushed candy together in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour.

Slowly bring milk to a simmer over medium-high heat. Drop in white chocolate, whisking until mixture is smooth and thoroughly melted. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Add peppermint extract. Pour into serving mugs and top with 1 spoonful of whipped cream. Drink can be sprinkled with crushed candy, if desired, before serving.



MEXICAN MIXTURE

(Makes 4 cups)

3-1/4c milk

1/3c light brown sugar, firmly packed

3/4t cinnamon

1-1/2t vanilla

3oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2c Kahlua (or similar coffee-flavored liqueur)

Cinnamon or cinnamon sticks to garnish

Combine milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil and immediately reduce to medium heat.

In a small dish, combine chocolate with 1/2c hot milk and whisk until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is creamy. Add mixture to the remaining milk and simmer, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Whisk in Kahlua. Pour into mugs and serve with cinnamon sticks or a pinch of cinnamon.

RASPBERRY CHOCOLATE

(Serves 4-5 cups)

6oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely

2c heavy cream

1c milk

2T sugar

1/2t salt

1T butter, unsalted

Whipped cream

1c raspberries

In saucepan, bring cream, milk and sugar to just under a boil over medium-high heat. Stir mixture frequently. Add chocolate and butter. Reduce heat and cook mixture on low, until chocolate is melted and mixture is creamy. Pour into cups and top with 1/2 spoonful of whipped cream. Place a small handful of raspberries on top of the whipping cream and allow them to fall to the bottom of the cup. Stir, and serve.

COCOA POWDER TRICKS

When using prepackaged coca powders, there are several methods which can be used to enhance the flavor of the cocoa.

ADD freshly grated cinnamon to the bottom of the cup before pouring in cocoa mixture and water. Stir thoroughly and garnish with whipped cream or a cinnamon stick.

ADD a drop of vanilla to the water as it's heating. Garnish with whipping cream.

ADD a dash of nutmeg to the powdered cocoa before adding water.

ADD 1 tablespoon of your favorite liqueur immediately before serving.

HINTS

BY beating your hot cocoa 30-seconds before serving, you'll create an attractive foamy topping and enhance the flavor of the cocoa.

WHEN using real milk in your hot cocoa, never overheat. Overheating milk destroys the flavor and texture. Milk temperature should never exceed 170-degrees.

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