Mexican Chocolate Elixir

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So I’m prepping for a yoga and chocolate tasting workshop that I’m going to lead next week (wanna come?) and I remembered this amazing drinking chocolate that I had in Santa Fe last summer. If you are ever there, be sure to check out Kakawa Chocolate House. It’s super cool. They have a ton of different chocolate elixirs to choose from and you can taste any one of them first…which of course, I did. And don’t you just love the word ELIXIR. Makes me think I’m drinking something magical and healing sent down from the Mayan gods.

They have all kinds of interesting flavors added to the drinking chocolate including ancho chile, lavender, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and rose to name a few. Some of the drinks are a little more bitter because of the higher cacoa content of the chocolate used and others are sweeter. For this recipe, I stuck with a traditional Mexican flavor combination using almonds, cinnamon and Mexican vanilla.

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To make the freshest taste possible, I ground a cinnamon stick, but you could definitely use pre-ground cinnamon. Look for canela cinnamon at your Hispanic market, if you can find it. It’s the perfect flavor for this drink. I also used my spice grinder to grind the almond slices and cacao nibs. These help thicken the elixir and add a boost of flavor too. You could use a food processor if you don’t have a spice/coffee grinder.

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Mexican vanilla is a nice touch too, if you can find it. I get mine at Penzeys. And for this recipe, I used raw unsweetened cacoa nibs from Navitas Naturals. I love these and add them to my oatmeal and smoothies all the time.

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To make the elixir, I warm some almond milk until it lightly bubbles around the edges, but does not come to a boil. You could use any non-dairy milk and it would be great. I think a nut milk is nice because it is a little thicker, but you can improvise with whatever you have. Once the milk is warm, I add the chocolate (chopped, if it’s a bar). I used El Rey 58.5% (cacao content) Venezuelan dark chocolate discs. Because this is a sweeter chocolate than say a 70 or 90% dark chocolate, I did not need to add any cane sugar or agave to the drink.

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Once the chocolate is melts, I add the cinnamon, ground cacao nibs, ground almonds and vanilla. I place the mixture in a high powered blender and blend it for a few minutes to smooth out the texture because of the ground almonds. Returning the mixture to the pan, I use this really fun wooden chocolate whisk that I got at Kakawa House, called a molinillo. You place it between your palms a vigorously rub your hands back and forth. It’s fun and creates a nice froth. I large whisk will work too.

Mexican Chocolate Elixir

Makes 2 servings

1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (homemade would be great here)

3 1/2 oz (about 3/4 cup) dark chocolate, chopped if necessary

1 tsp ground cinnamon (freshly ground, if possible)

2 Tbsp ground almonds

2 Tbsp ground cacao nibs

1/4 tsp Mexican vanilla

Heat almond milk in a sauce pan until small bubbles form around edges of pan. Turn off heat and add chocolate, stirring until melted. Add remaining ingredients and transfer to a high powered blender. Blend until smooth. Return to pan and whisk with molinillo or large whisk until frothy. Serve and say ahhhhhhhhhhh.

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