Mayan Hot Chocolate

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.*

I can’t stop thinking about hot chocolate today.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking that August will be more forgiving than July—and less oppressively hot and wet. Maybe it’s that the AC in my office is set on Arctic Frost today. Maybe I’m just dying for something sweet after my super spicy lunch.

Mayan Hot Chocolate is a rich, frothy hot chocolate that gets a little extra kick from hot chili peppers and cinnamon. There are dozens of recipes for this out there. Here’s mine.

I’ve also included a list of premade hot chocolate mixes towards the end, for when you just want to keep it simple.

Mayan Hot Chocolate

1 fresh chili pepper, seeded
5 cups of light cream (relax, you’ll be thinning it down later with chili-infused water)
1 vanilla bean, split in half longways
1-2 cinnamon sticks
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (or 3 Mexican chocolate tablets)
2 Tbls. white sugar or honey
1 Tbls. almonds or hazelnuts, finely ground (optional)

Add the chili pepper to 2 cups of boiling water. Boil until reduced by half. Strain and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon sticks. Heat until just simmering. Add the chocolate and sugar or honey and whisk until they’ve dissolved.

Remove the pot from heat. Remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks. Add the ground nuts, if you’re using them. Stir to combine.

Add in the chili-infused water and whisk to combine. If you’re unsure about how hot the chilis will make the cocoa, add the infusion in a little at a time, and taste as you go.

If your hot chocolate is too thick or hot, thin with whole milk. Need more kick? Add a splash of Godiva Liqueur.

Serves about 6.

A Note on Ingredients

Chili Peppers
Use the kind you like best for flavor and hotness. I personally like jalapenos, but any medium-level hot pepper will do. I would shy away from anything like a habanero, which is too hot for something like this. It would overpower—not balance—the sweetness of the chocolate and sugar/honey.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Tablets
If you hunt around at a larger supermarket, you’ll likely be able to unearth Nestle’s Mexican Hot Chocolate tablets or a similar product.

This is great, but can’t I just buy this stuff premade?
In fact, you can! Here are links to a few mixes.

MarieBelle Spicy Hot Chocolate blends rich chocolate with cinnamon, nutmeg, and chipotle chilis. A 10-oz. tin is $18.

Lake Champlain Aztec Hot Chocolate is extra toasty with cinnamon and cayenne. A 16-oz. can is $8.

Crate and Barrel’s Spicy Maya Hot Chocolate, with chili peppers and cinnamon, is $14.95 for a 12-oz. can.


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.