Mexican Hot Chocolate Creme recipe from The Speckled Hen Inn Bed and Breakfast in Madison
3 Egg Yolks
½ cup sugar
2 Cakes of Ibarra Mexican Chocolate chopped into pieces.
1 Cup of Whipping Cream
1 Cup of Milk
In a medium saucepan whisk together the yolks and sugar. Add cream and milk and begin cooking over medium low heat whisking constantly. As the milk begins to warm add in the chopped chocolate and continue cooking and stirring until chocolate has melted and the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick cream. Serve warm topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate or cinnamon sugar. Serves 8 – 10 (demitasse cups).
The source of warmth in the winter, conversations shared with a dear friend in a café, a gift during the holidays to let someone know they’re in your thoughts. Hot chocolate applies to all of these situations and has become an integral part of our lives. For many around the world, it’s a staple of morning or evening rituals. It gets me to thinking, how did it become so engrained in our society?
To discover the answer to that question, we have to go back through a brief history. Hot chocolate in its original state wasn’t the creamy chocolate as we know it today. It was a simple concoction of ground cacao beans and water, cold. Not appetizing. First used among the Olmec in Mesoamerica about 3500 years ago believing it to have extensive health benefits, the Olmec used the drink in many sacred ceremonies and, in many societies, it was reserved for the most powerful figures. The chocolate drink advanced from its simple state of cacao and water by adding other flavors like ground chili beans and vanilla. This isn’t the drink that we imagine present in households around the United States. However, during the Age of Exploration when the Spanish Conquistadors exploited the New World, they also discovered the exclusive drink and were proud to present it to the crown. It was also during this time that sugar production became a profitable industry of the colonies and readily available as an ingredient to offset the bitter taste of the cacao. Finally, a traveler to the Caribbean found that they preferred the addition of milk to the recipe giving it the creamy texture that we are so accustomed to. (And thank goodness for the milk and sugar! I don’t think the original recipe would fly in my house.) Although it remained an expensive commodity and therefore an elitist drink for many years, the popularity of the chocolate drink expanded and now has many varied recipes. It became widespread throughout the European continent and eventually around the world.
Being that it remained a drink of high society for much of its exposure in European culture, a culture that has diffused not only throughout the United States but also throughout most of the world, it’s no surprise that hot chocolate is prevalent around world and has become a staple of home comfort. The recipes vary by continent and, based on their recipes, it is clear they are a product of our individually acquired tastes. In the United States you’ll likely be offered a thin, sweet drink derived from a mixture of dried milk, sugar and cocoa topped with whipped cream or marshmallows. If you ask for a hot chocolate in most European cafes, typically you’ll get a much less sweet but thicker, frothier version. The thickness gives the appearance of authentic melted chocolate but most times it is because they add cornstarch to create a dense variation (Who knew?).
At the Speckled Hen Inn we have a favorite recipe of our own that remains true to the origins of hot chocolate. We invite you to try this one at home or cozy up on a window seat in one of our luxury rooms with a warm cup of hot chocolate overlooking the beautiful landscape of our farm.