One thing I adore about the holidays are the traditional foods that come out in the stores and the dishes that are prepared at home. If you go out to the stores at the start of November, you will begin to see the Christmas displays: an entire aisle of panetone bread, shelves full of canned peaches, bars and bars of chocolate to make hot chocolate, and refrigerators full of sweet potato puree and applesauce. Most of those things, I leave at the store and prepare my own special dishes but the one thing I make sure to stock up on are the chocolate bars. Let’s just say we make a lot of hot chocolate here.
_(Photo: Provecho Peru)_
I know, you are thinking … “Hot chocolate? I make that all the time. Open a white envelope, add contents to mug and pour water over it.” You will realize that you are missing out once you make a pot of this delicious Peruvian Hot Chocolate. There is truly nothing like it.
I have to stop and say, there are MANY families that simply mix the chopped chocolate bar, sugar, evaporated milk and boiling water to make their traditional hot chocolate. Our version is much creamier, much richer than that. Friends who have tasted it—even Peruvian friends—stop in their tracks and ask about it. Seems like it is nothing they have tasted before and they are always eager to taste it again.
_(Photo: Provecho Peru)_
*HOW DO I MAKE PERUVIAN HOT CHOCOLATE?*
I start by flavoring the water with a hint of cinnamon and by the end, I will have added three types of milk—you could consider this the “Tres Leches of Hot Chocolate”—and two types of chocolate. Are you intrigued? Ready to make
yourself a cup? You can!
_(Photo: Provecho Peru)_
*Peruvian Hot Chocolate*
Peruvian Hot Chocolate is made rich by the blend of three different types of milk, made chocolatey with Latin chocolate and cocoa powder.
2 cups of water
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups of milk
1 can (410g) of evaporated milk
1 can (395g) of sweetened condensed milk
100 grams of Latin drinking-chocolate bar, chopped finely (Abuelita, Taza, Ibarra)
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1. Bring water and cinnamon stick to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Add the regular milk, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. Stir to combine, bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder. Remove one cup of the hot milk mixture and add to the small bowl with the chocolates. Set aside for a few minutes so the chocolate begins to melt and then stir to dissolve chocolate and cocoa powder. Return this chocolate mixture to the pot. Cook over low heat for 5 more minutes.
3. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water (you can use the same bowl from the chocolate) and add to the milk mixture; stirring continuously. Stir and cook over low heat for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and serve hot.
This serves 8 “regular” cups of hot chocolate. But let’s be honest, you won’t actually be able to fit all this deliciousness into a “regular” cup so it will actually give you closer to 5 large cups.
_Gretchen Noelle is the founder of “Provecho Peru”:http://www.provechoperu.com/, a site full of recipes in both Spanish and English. Her love of food was cultivated early on by her family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, she has also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country._
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