This vegan-friendly Spicy Hot Chocolate is made with chile de arbol, chocolate, cinnamon, and either milk or coconut milk, leaving you with a decadently spiced winter treat.
Do you have a favorite kind of chocolate? I used to say I loved dark chocolate the most, which is still partially true, but awhile back I discovered my true chocolate obsession- dark chocolate with a kick of chili pepper. The first time I ever heard of chili chocolate was while watching the old Johnny Depp movie “Chocolat,” when Vianne picked a Mexican spicy chocolate for someone visiting her chocolaterie. I was intrigued, and then when I tasted spicy chili chocolate, I was hooked. Chocolate with chili is amazing, fantastical, tantalizing, and it makes me smile. I especially like this spicy kick in my hot chocolate.
If you’ve been making hot chocolate by adding water to those little instant cocoa packets, please stop. At the very least, take a moment to read the ingredients, and make sure the kind you’ve been using doesn’t include freaky, unpronounceable ingredients. There are all kinds of health reasons not to ingest those strange ingredients, but I’m going to give you one more: Taste! Those ‘fake-chocolates’ aren’t nearly as delicious as a simple hot chocolate made from actual pieces of chocolate or cocoa. The taste doesn’t even compare.
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This Spicy Hot Chocolate is made using milk or coconut milk,* chiles de arbol, cinnamon, and semi-sweet chocolate chips (check the label on your chocolate chips too, and make sure they don’t have strange ingredients either). I really like Vietnamese cinnamon, with it’s slightly stronger taste, but regular cinnamon works too. You can either make this cocoa the normal way, by heating everything up and drinking it, or you can make it a little fancier and use frothed milk. To make frothed milk, you can use use an inexpensive hand-held milk frother , an electric milk frother, or an immersion blender to build froth. If you’re feeling extra decadent, top the cocoa off with whipped cream. However you prepare this cocoa, sip slowly, smile, and enjoy.
*Note: Normally I’d say– substitute milk with any milk substitute you prefer! For this, however, you’ll ideally be frothing or steaming your milk, and coconut milk froths better than soy, cashew, or almond milk. If you don’t care about frothing, go ahead and use whatever milk substitute you prefer. If you do care, get a full-fat, or ‘first pressing’ coconut milk from a can (I like Trader Joe’s or Thai Kitchen’s coconut milk). Coconut milk in refrigerated cartons is not as thick and does not froth well.
Mexican Spicy Hot Chocolate
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2oz)
- 2 cups milk OR full fat coconut milk
- 2 chiles de arbol OR sub 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped Cream (Optional):
- 1/2 cup whipping cream or full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- caramel syrup, top drizzle over whipped cream (optional)
For frothed milk:
Pour half the milk and chiles into a small saucepan and heat on medium until boiling. Remove from heat immediately, strain out peppers with a slotted spoon, and quickly add chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla (optional). Stir until chocolate melts.
Heat remaining milk separately and froth with handheld frother, or use milk steamer to heat and froth. Pour milk into mugs first, and then pour in chocolate mixture. Top with whipped cream if desired.
Without frothed milk:
Pour all of the milk and chiles into a small saucepan and heat on medium until boiling. Remove from heat immediately, strain out peppers with a slotted spoon, and quickly add chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla (optional). Stir until chocolate melts. Serve hot in mugs. Top with whipped cream if desired.
Whipped Cream (Optional):
Put cream or coconut milk and sugar in a chilled bowl, and use an electric hand mixer to whip into stiff peaks. Spoon onto hot chocolate. Add caramel syrup if desired.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal, assume 2% milk was used, and do not include the optional whipped cream.