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Cold Winter, Hot Drink!

Wonderful, Warm and Sweet: Hot Chocolate

After being out in the cold, tobogganing, walking or skiing, what better way to warm up with one of Canada’s sweetest treats, hot chocolate.

Did you know that this comfort drink is not native to Canada, nor was it originally served hot? Chocolate was used in a beverage centuries before it was considered a candy or added to cooking.

The ancient Azteks, from Mexico, first roasted cocao beans to make a cold chocolate drink. Then, Spanish explorers brought the cocao beans to Europe in the 1500s where they made them into a hot drink by adding chili peppers. In the 18th century, chocolate houses became trendy, and the English started adding milk to the chocolate drink. It was North American pioneers that had to import chocolate, or bring a precious supply with them to complete chocolate’s travel circle.

Classic Hot Chocolate
Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, grated
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Mix the dry ingredients with ½ a cup of the milk
  • Add the rest of the milk
  • Heat slowly and whisk to avoid burning
  • Serve with marshmallows or whipped cream on top.

Variations:

  • Add 1-2 crushed candy canes to make Peppermint Hot Chocolate.
  • Substitute 1 cup of milk with half and half cream for extra creamy.
  • Spice with ¼ teaspoon of chili powder for Mexican Hot Chocolate.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of instant coffee for a nice easy mocha drink.
  • Add a bit of Baileys or your favourite liqueur, to turn it into a warm adult drink.

A recipe from 1769 reads:
To make Chocolate. Scrape four ounces of chocolate and pour a quart of boiling water upon it, mill it well with a chocolate mill and sweeten it to your taste. Give it a boil and let it stand all night, then mill it again very well.

Boil it two minutes, then mill it till it will leave a froth upon the top of your cups.

— The Experienced English Housekeeper