The dreaded “X”. Since “X-treme” anything felt like cheating, I searched every nook and cranny of the internet to find a true X food to make this week. The majority of the results came from China and were for different xia dishes, but I refused point-blank to cook those. Xia, or shrimp in English, would practically kill me. I’m that allergic. So I kept scrolling, page after page, until I found the perfect X.
Xocolatl, literally translating to “bitter water,” is a traditional Aztec drink. More commonly known to Americans as hot chocolate, this version is meant to have a very dark and slightly spicy flavor. The signature ingredient, other than cocoa, is red pepper, which delivers a subtle kick to the otherwise ordinary beverage.
The recipe I unearthed for Aztec hot chocolate seemed simple enough, and I had all the ingredients—except the cayenne pepper. Instead of walking to the store in the pouring rain, I grabbed chili pepper from the back of my spice cabinet and sprinkled it over the milk.
The drink only required a few minutes to mix, and soon I was pouring it into a mug. After my first sip of the steaming cocoa, I knew there was absolutely no way I ever needed to pay Starbucks to mix my hot chocolate ever again.
Xocolatl (Aztec Hot Chocolate)
based off of Aztec Hot Chocolate
Play around with the spices to suite your tastes. Use less pepper (or completely omit) if you prefer a more traditional cup of hot chocolate.
1 c. skim milk
½ tbsp sugar
½ tbsp honey
⅛ tsp chili (or cayenne) pepper
pinch of ginger
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla
whipped cream (opt.)
- Combine milk through nutmeg in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes, continuing to stir.
- Remove milk from heat and whisk in cocoa and vanilla, being sure to break up any clumps of cocoa. Pour into a mug, top with whipped cream (if using), and serve hot.
*Note: If the pepper flavor is too subtle, sprinkle a little extra over the hot chocolate after pouring it into the mugs. It also makes for a pretty topping for the whipped cream!