Karen Schuld Photography: NYC Food Photographer

Sprouts in the Hood

Sprouts in the Hood
Exploring My Hood Through Food and Lifestyle Photography

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Recipe: Aztec/Mayan Hot and Spicy Cocoa

Hot Pepper Heart
Last week, on a cold day in Manhattan, a friend mentioned she warmed up with hot cocoa spiked with hot pepper.  Since hot chilies are one of my favorite spices, I became curious about this endorphin-releasing combination, so I did a Google search.  I discovered that 2000 years ago the Aztecs and Mayans prepared a sacred drink mixing cayenne pepper and cocoa.  Wanting to rediscover this ancient drink, I created my own variation of this spicy hot cocoa for a Valentine's Day treat.
             Cocoa with a Cinnamon Stick


Dark chocolate, sweet or unsweetened
Brown sugar (if chocolate is unsweetened)
Almonds, finely ground
Hot pepper


1.  Combine desired amount of milk and chocolate into a saucepan.
2.  Add chilies, cinnamon, vanilla, ground almonds plus any other flavors of your liking.
3.  Bring to rapid boil, then serve in a small glass.

Selection of Mexican, Colombian and Dominican Chocolate
All of these chocolates are perfect for hot cocoa. You can find them in a Mexican or Caribbean market.    I like combining the sweetened ibarra with the unsweetened Luker Chocolate. The Embajador Chocolate works great alone.

List of Chocolate Brands for Cocoa:

1.  The Luker Chocolate is bitter, non sweet chocolate, from Columbia.
2.  Chocolate Ibarra, from Mexico, has a gritty texture and is sweetened and flavored with cinnamon.
3.  Embajador is a dark, sweetened chocolate from the Dominican Republic.


  1. Karen, Beautiful, light, bright and elegant photos! And I love chocolate with chile. Happy Valentine's Day!

  2. This must taste delicious. Love chocolate with chilly so will love this one.

  3. Hi Mina, I am always "masala" inspired.

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