Aztec-Style Chocolate Drink (Two Ways)

I know, I know. It’s summer and you’re hardly thinking about hot chocolate. But you should be. Because it’s chocolate and it’s GOOD for you and it’s delicious. Just saying.

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This amazing recipe from Matt’s new book Superfoods for Life, Cacao can be served hot, warm, or cold. He even gives us two different options to try (there’s no shame in trying both). And it’s from the Aztecs, so it’s perfect for impressing your friends and family with your historical knowledge.

Once you’re done with your mug, you could end the night with a 5-Minute Mug Cake. At least that’s what I’d do.

Aztec-Style Chocolate Drink (Two Ways)
Excerpted from Superfoods for Life, Cacao by Matt Ruscigno (with Joshua Ploeg)

This drink is based on the original Aztec cacao beverage, where they ground the beans into a mealy powder and cooked it with water and spices. Some drank it obsessively back in the day, and if anything can get you excited about unsweetened chocolate, this can. Think of it like coffee, chicory, or maté. I also included the cold beverage version as well for your experimental pleasures.

½ cup (48 g) raw cacao powder or nibs
3 cups (710 ml) water
1 teaspoon fresh or dried minced chile pepper, or to taste
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
Pinch salt
1 vanilla bean

Take a mortar and pestle and grind the nibs into a powder, or if your powder has pieces in it, grind that into a finer texture. Of course you can also use a food processor.

Add the water, chile, and cinnamon stick to a medium-size pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain, saving the chile water. Mix the chile water with the cacao, cinnamon stick, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring. Lower to simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Scrape the vanilla bean and add
both the scrapings and the bean to the concoction for the last few minutes of simmering. Serve hot or warm.

Yield: 4 servings or 1 big one if you’re Montezuma

And Here’s the Uncooked Version!

½ cup (48 g) raw cacao powder or nibs
¼ cup (35 g) cornmeal
¼ cup (35 g) squash seeds
Pinch salt
1 dried chile pepper, crushed and seeded
2 cups (475 ml) water

In a sturdy medium mixing bowl, grind all of the ingredients except the water with a pestle. Continue grinding while adding the water slowly until a thick but drinkable consistency is reached, about 4 to 5 minutes. (You may not have to use all of the water to get this to your satisfaction.)

Next, whip the mixture with a whisk until a bit frothy, which will only take a few minutes. Serve.

Note: You can also serve this beverage heated. This will make for a slightly smaller amount than the hot chocolate recipe, but you can still put it in 4 mugs.

Yield: 4 servings

Superfoods for Life, Cacao

Are you craving chocolate? Go ahead, give in! Cacao–raw chocolate–often referred to as “food of the gods” is high in antioxidants. It is also an excellent source of magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, and copper. A good source of omega-6 fatty acids and rich in heart-healthy oleic acids, it will boost your mood, improve cognition and help lessen stress! Sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t! As author Matt Ruscigno explains, this hot superfood has powerful benefits. Then Matt gives you what you really want–recipes for chocolate! Superfoods for Life, Cacao contains 75 recipes for sweet and savory cacao recipes–from main dishes to desserts–including Huitlacoche-Chocolate Empanadas, Cocoa Buffalo Tempura Vegetables, Dolmathes with Currant-Chocolate Rice and Cacao Tzatziki.