Warm Up With the Food of the Gods

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mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows and peppermint

During the winter months, I love to drink hot chocolate. This drink, that we call cocoa, comes from the cacao bean. The Mayans called cacao “the food of the gods”. The cacao bean is native to South and Central America, but it is enjoyed throughout the world. Cocoa helps promote heart health, aids memory, has antioxidants called flavonoids, and according to the USDA, is a good source of iron and fiber.

When I make hot chocolate, sometimes, I add a peppermint stick or chocolate mint candy. Marshmallows are always wonderful, too! Hot chocolate is the perfect drink to warm the body and soothe the soul. I love to add cinnamon and cloves, a method that I learned while living in the Dominican Republic. The spices give the cocoa a wonderful aroma and taste. Try this recipe for your family.

Hot Chocolate

Serves 10

8 cups of water

4 squares from a block of bittersweet chocolate

2 cans of evaporated milk

4 sticks of cinnamon

1 tsp whole cloves

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1tsp salt

1 Tbsp vanilla

In a pot bring the water, cinnamon, and cloves, sugar, salt, and chocolate to a boil on medium heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Turn off the stove and add the vanilla and both cans of milk. Stir well to mix. Remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Serve hot.

Warm milk in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sugar, and whisk until dissolved. Add chocolate, and whisk until melted. Heat until slightly thick, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream