If you’ve never combined chiles and chocolate before, it might be time to give it a try. The pairing can highlight the complex flavor of both ingredients, as well as bring out the subtle fruity nature of both. Experiment with different types of chiles and see how different each pairing turns out.
Spicy Hot Cocoa
2 dried red chiles
6 Tbs. (1 oz./30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbs. sugar
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) water
1 cinnamon stick, about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) long, plus more for garnish
2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml) milk
Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Open the chiles over a saucepan and release the seeds. Add the chile pods, cocoa powder, sugar and water. Set over low heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture forms a smooth paste, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the cinnamon stick and milk and stir until the paste is completely dissolved. Cook until hot, about 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Strain the hot cocoa into 4 mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick or a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007)