Mexican Hot Chocolate & Chocolate Pie

Today’s delicious dish – Mexican Hot Chocolate  

hot-chocolate-served

If your only experience of hot chocolate is what you get when you combine a packet of brown powder with hot water, you are in for a treat when you make this recipe.  Mexican Hot Chocolate is traditionally rich, sweet, and a bit spicy.  Some versions of it even have a small amount of powdered chili pepper incorporated for an extra kick.  I’m not that adventurous, though.  I like to use Abuelita chocolate, which comes in an interesting-shaped box, and has six paper-wrapped chocolate disks with sugar and spices added.

This hot chocolate can be served right after making, but it will be even better if you can let it sit a while, then reheat and whisk vigorously once more.  The extra time allows the spices to steep a little, and rounds out the flavors.  It keeps in the refrigerator for about 6 days, and this yummy delicacy gets better with each passing day.

If you aren’t worried about calories and want to make this hot chocolate extra-rich, use whole milk in place of 2%, and heavy cream in place of fat-free half and half.  If you want to make it into an adult beverage, add a tablespoon of brandy or crème de cacao to each cup.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

  • 5 1/2 cups 2% Milk
  • 2 Tablets Abuelita Chocolate (about 90 grams each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fat-free half and half

Pour milk into microwave-safe bowl.  Add Abuelita tablets, cinnamon, and ginger.  Microwave 3 minutes, then stir.  Microwave 3 more minutes, then stir again.  Microwave 2 more minutes, then whisk in vanilla extract and fat-free half and half.  Microwave 2 more minutes.  Whisk vigorously, until hot chocolate is well mixed and frothy.

Makes about 6 cups hot chocolate, or 6 servings (about 1 cup each)

Nutritional information (per serving):  271 calories, 9 grams fat, 5.5 grams saturated fat, 8 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrate, 37 grams sugars, 0 grams fiber, 19 milligrams cholesterol, 121 milligrams sodium

 Cost per serving:   90 cents

 Preparation time:  15 minutes


What happens next?

 hot-chocolate-to-save-for-laterI store leftover Mexican Hot Chocolate in the refrigerator in small plastic jugs or canning jars – anything microwaveable with a secure lid will work.  To reheat, remove lid or vent lid, then microwave for 1 minute.  Cap or close the container and shake hot chocolate well.  Remove lid or vent, and microwave another minute, then cover and shake well again.  Repeat until hot chocolate is steamy and you are ready to serve it  Give it a good shake before serving.

This hot chocolate can be made into a wonderful chocolate pie, so I usually put aside 2 servings (a little less than 2 cups).  As long as I make the pie within 4 days, it is fine to keep the hot chocolate in the refrigerator.  This hot chocolate can be frozen too.  When thawed, it will have separated, but this is easily remedied by warming it up and shaking it well.


Another day’s delicious dish – Chocolate Pie

pie-served

Some unsweetened cocoa powder is added to the leftover Mexican Hot Chocolate, along with sugar and thickening and enriching agents, to give you a delectable, silky pie filling.  It makes a great counterpoint to the crunchy chocolate graham cracker crust and rich whipped cream topping.

Don’t skip the step of covering the surface of the completed pie with plastic wrap – that’s how you keep a tough skin from forming on the top.  It takes longer for the filling to completely cool, but it stays uniformly smooth.

If you prefer it, you can substitute vanilla extract for almond extract.  If you don’t want to use butter, you can substitute coconut oil in the crust and in the filling.  Finally, you can buy graham cracker crumbs or crush up your own graham crackers for the crust.  The job is easy if you put the graham crackers in a zip-top bag and use a rolling pin to get the crumbs as small as possible.

If you don’t have leftover Mexican Hot Chocolate, you can still make this recipe.  Heat 1 3/4 cups 2% milk with 2 ounces baking chocolate, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a dash of cinnamon and ginger.  When chocolate is completely melted, whisk mixture well and you are ready to go on with making a chocolate pie.

Chocolate Pie

Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 3 ounces, or 6 sheets, crushed)
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Filling:

  • 2 servings (about 2 cups) Mexican Hot Chocolate  
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon almond extract

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

To make crust, turn oven on to 375 degrees.  Mix together graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Combine melted butter and almond extract, then pour liquid over dry mixture.  Stir together.  Press mixture over the bottom and up the sides of a 8″ or 9” pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

To make filling, heat Mexican Hot Chocolate in microwave for 1 minute, then stir well.   Combine sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and cornstarch in a medium bowl.  Whisk in half of hot chocolate to make a smooth mixture, then whisk in the rest.  Microwave mixture for 4 minutes, stopping each minute to whisk and scrape down sides of bowl.  Hot mixture should be thick.  Beat eggs in a smaller bowl.  Temper eggs by whisking in a few spoonfuls of the hot mixture, one at a time.  Carefully add tempered egg mixture to hot mixture, whisking until completely combined and smooth.  Scrape down bowl and microwave 1 minute.  Add butter and almond extract and whisk again until completely smooth.  Scrape down bowl and let stand 15 minutes.  Whisk once more, then pour filling into baked crust.  Cover surface of pie filling with plastic wrap, making sure plastic is actually touching the filling, and refrigerate pie at least 3 hours.

Before serving pie, whip together cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Top each piece with a heaping spoonful of whipped cream.

Makes 8 servings

Nutritional information (per serving):   270 calories, 14 grams fat, 7.5 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrate, 21 grams sugars, 1 gram fiber, 82 milligrams cholesterol, 145 milligrams sodium

 Cost per serving:  85 cents

 Preparation time:  45 minutes

Chilling time:  at least 3 hours

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