Real Hot Chocolate, From Scratch

Real Hot Chocolate, From Scratch
Our recipe for hot chocolate includes three ingredients that subtly enhance the natural flavors of chocolate: chile pepper, vanilla and cinnamon. You can vary the amounts according to your personal taste, or even omit them altogether. Hot chocolate brewed from minimally processed chocolate liquor delivers all of the complex flavors derived from whole cocoa beans. “Chocolate liquor” is the term used for the thick paste that results when whole cocoa beans are fermented, roasted, crushed into ‘nibs,’ and lastly, finely ground. All real chocolate begins with this raw ingredient. This chocolate liquor (also called chocolate mass or paste) consists of 100% cacao – both the cocoa solids and rich, oily cocoa butter. Heavily processed, mass produced cocoa powders just can’t compare with the real thing.

4 oz chocolate liquor
4 cups milk
1/2 raw cane sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
dash good quality ground cinnamon



Grate the chocolate liquor with a sharp, fine-toothed grater or microplane. We found that it’s far easier to grate the chocolate than it is to shave or chop it with a knife. This technique also yields a a light, fluffy form of chocolate “powder” that melts quickly, with no lumps or unpleasant grittiness.


Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and pour in the milk. We used regular whole milk straight from the carton with outstanding results. Add the grated chocolate liquor, sugar and salt. The raw cane sugar that we used is a little bit less sweet, but more flavorful than regular refined sugar. If you use regular sugar, start with a bit less, then adjust to your personal taste.


Heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate and sugar are completely dissolved and the mixture is quite hot, but not boiling. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and cayenne (if using). Hot chile pepper may seem to be an odd ingredient to pair with chocolate, but chile peppers were used by the Aztecs in their chocolate brews. While this version of hot chocolate is nothing like the stuff the Aztecs drank (we’d probably find it unpleasant and barely palatable), the pleasantly spicy bite of chiles adds a certain kick that wakes up your taste buds and should not be missed.


Using a hand-held immersible blender, whip the hot chocolate until a layer of froth forms on the surface – a minute or two is all it takes. Pour into warm cups, making sure that the foam is distributed equally between them, and serve immediately. Don’t bother with whipped cream or those little marshmallows. This chocolate is just too good on its own.



Products suggested for this recipe:

Earthy Delights

2871 Jolly Road

Okemos MI 48864

tel 855.328.8732

fax 517.253.7366

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