Mexican hot chocolate is traditionally made with special Mexican chocolate. If you don’t have that chocolate, this recipe gives you the chocolate/cinnamon/vanilla flavor of Mexican hot chocolate with ingredients you can find in any store. (If you do have Mexican chocolate, use this recipe instead.) See the Notes at the bottom for more details. And check out How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate for background and traditions behind the drink.
Makes 1 quart
4 cups of milk (whole milk makes the best froth)
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
4 short cinnamon sticks or 2 long ones, smashed a little for maximum flavor
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (if you can't find bittersweet chips, you can use semisweet and add less sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Whisk together the milk, sugar and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the cinnamon sticks. Warm over medium heat, partially covered, until the milk is steaming hot but not boiling, continuing to whisk occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
2. When the milk is steaming hot, add the chocolate chips and use a wire whisk to mix them thoroughly into the milk. Continue to whisk occasionally for 5-8 minutes (partially covering the pan whenever you’re not whisking), allowing the chocolate to fully melt into the drink.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then froth it and serve. To make the froth, spin a wire whisk or molinillo back and forth between your hands to create a froth on top of the milk in the pot (as in the picture). Ladle into individual cups and spoon enough froth on top of each cup to cover.
The froth is the classic topping for Mexican hot chocolate, so don’t skip that step! Children in Mexico clamor for good froth on top (there’s even a song about it!) so it’s an important part of the drink. Don’t worry if you don’t have a wooden molinillo as shown in the picture. A wire whisk works just fine to make a great froth.
If you’re new to making Mexican Hot Chocolate, definitely check out How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate for lots of additional background and details.