Chocoatl (Mayan Hot Chocolate)

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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1 quart water or milk
1/2 cup honey
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
one 2-inch cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican cinnamon (canela)
1/2 tsp. annatto (achiote) seeds, ground
1/2 tsp. dried ground guajillo
1/4 pound cocoa nibs, ground; or pure unsweetened chocolate or unsweetened baking chocolate


In large saucepan, combine the water, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, plus the annatto and chile (if using) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and thoroughly combined.

Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil (if using milk, bring to just below the boiling point) and remove the pan from the heat for a moment, then return to the heat and bring to boil (or almost a boil) a third time. Remove the mixture from the heat and beat with a whisk or rotary beater until frothy on top.

Pour 3/4 of the chocolate into 4 cups and beat the remaining chocolate in the saucepan until a thick froth forms. Spoon the froth on top of the chocolate in the cups.

Recipe from “Spirit of the Earth: Native Cooking from Latin America.” Text copyright © 2001 by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs.