Friday, March 21, 2008

Hot Chocolate, The Oaxacan Way

The newspaper said that it will be the coldest Easter in 40 years and when I looked out of my window this afternoon, I saw snow!
So no spring dish this time, but hot chocolate and not your regular one! Oh no, one made from scratch!

Last year on our trip through Mexico I picked up a bag of cocoa beans in Oaxaca, so I could show my niece what chocolate is made of. But what do you with it after that? So they ended up in the back of the pantry. Then last week I ran across a post on the Last Crumb blog where Rose made a chocolate bar from cocoa beans.

I knew right away what to do with my cocoa beans! Make hot chocolate with them just like I had at the 20 de Noviembre market in Oaxaca. At that market you can buy bars of chocolate that are used to make the famous Mexican hot chocolate, but there are also places where you can have them grind up your own favorite blend of cocoa, canela (real cinnamon), sugar etc.
A lot of the vendors inside the market sell their own blend, and it doesn't come as a bar but more like a coarse paste. You can also sit down and have them brew up a nice mug for you, with water or milk!

So today I took my bag of beans out of the pantry together with some real Mexican cinnamon and sugar and made this fabulous chocolate that took me right back to the market in Oaxaca!

200 grams cocoa beans
20 grams canela (Mexican cinnamon)
40 grams sugar

milk (to make chocolate con leche)

The paste:
Heat up a cast iron skillet and toast the cinnamon sticks until fragrant, let them cool down and grind to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder.
In the same skillet toast the cocoa beans, when they turn brown and start to crack they are done, let them cool down and take the shells of.

I weighed the beans and had 170 grams left, I decided to add 40 grams of sugar (around 20%).
Combine the beans, sugar and a tablespoon of canela in a foodprocessor and blend until you get a shiny paste, this takes quite a while and takes a lot of scraping down the sides and bottom.

Chocolate con Leche:
Take enough milk to fill your mug, put that in a pan, add 1 1/2 tablespoon of the chocolate paste and bring the milk to a boil while constantly whisking. I strained my chocolate milk through a sieve to catch any bigger pieces of cocoa bean that might be left in the paste.

In Mexico they don't use a whisk but molinillo to froth up the hot chocolate.


Tartelette said...

Great read! There is nothing better than a hot up of Mexican chocolate to beat the chill of winter or early spring.

Rose said...

Looks great! It's funny, I often visit Oaxaca and even lived there for a while, and I've never noticed the paste/powder chocolate variety. I guess it goes to show how much what we notice is guided by what we expect to find -- I'll definitely look for it next time!