Spicy Hot Chocolate

Every now and then, on cold winter days, I make this decadent hot chocolate. It’s based on the traditional Mexican hot chocolate with spices, but over the years I developed my own recipe. I want it thick and velvety, so I add quite some cornstarch. I also love to give it some kick and add a pinch of cayenne pepper, but you can leave it out if you want. It’s rather heavy so serve it in small cups.

Serves 4
Action time 10 minutes + 15-20 minutes waiting

Note: I use Mexican chocolate from Taza, but you can also make it with 70% dark chocolate. In the Netherlands you can order Mexican chocolate from Taza at thehighfivecompany.com.

2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
5 cloves
4 tbps cornstarch
1 tbsp cocoa powder
75 g/ 2.5 oz (Mexican) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
about 50 g/ 4 tbsp sugar or to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla-extract
500 ml/ 2 cups whole milk
pinch of cayenne pepper, optional

1. In a medium saucepan bring 500 ml/ 2 cups of water with the cinnamon, star anise, and cloves to a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep for 15-20 minutes.

2. Remove the spices with a slotted spoon. In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch and cocoa powder in several spoons of the water with spices from the pan, and stir until you have a smooth paste.

3. Reheat the water with spices and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Add the chocolate, sugar and vanilla and stir until the chocolate and sugar are melted. Add the milk and keep whisking for several minutes until the drink is thick and foamy. Pour in cups.

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