This rich and chocolatey cocoa with a fragrant spices and a bite of chile is a modern interpretation of early unsweetened hot chocolate drinks. These early drinks used herbs, spices, flowers, musk and even corn as a thickener. While the nuts and cardamom were not ingredients used by the Mayans they add to the exotic flavors that make this drink unique. If you don't like your hot chocolate spicy skip the chile and enjoy the marvelous flavors.
The name, Ek Chuah, comes from the Mayan god of chocolate. I think this recipe would meet with his approval.
Ek Chuah’s Spiced Hot Chocolate
By Bonnie Glass
4 cups of quarts milk or non-dairy milk
2 Tb achiote seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole green cardamom pods (smashed)
¼ cup rough chopped almonds or hazelnuts
5 dried rosebuds (optional)
1 whole dried chile del árbol
1 tablespoon vanilla extreact
Pinch of salt
Sugar to taste
Heat the milk over medium heat with achiote seeds, cinnamon sticks and cardamom. Do not boil and stir frequently. The achiote will give the mixture a light yellow hue.
Add chopped nuts and rosebuds. Fort spicier hot chocolate add chile de árbol now. Stir then add chocolate stir until chocolate is melted and fully incorporated into the milk. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the mixture to steep.
Add vanilla along with sugar to taste and a pinch of salt. The chile de árbol can be added now and steep for 3-4 minutes for a less heat.
Pour through a sieve and strain before serving. Top with whipped cream sprinkled with unsweetened cocoa powder. The whipped cream helps mellow the spiciness.