Historical Hot Chocolate, 1631

Historical Hot Chocolate, 1631


This is the most decadent hot cocoa I have ever encountered.

Made thick and creamy by the emulsified ground nuts, it pours beautifully. There is a hint of robust smoky spiciness lent by the chipotle that compliments the chocolate, giving it a warm mouth feel no matter what temperature you serve it. The spice lingers on the back of the tongue, allowing the other flavors a turn. The anise is subtle, but with a distinct small bite, and traces of the cinnamon are there also. The annato doesn’t have much flavor, but adds a wonderful rich depth of color. 

This recipe was probably intended to be made with water, and possibly even served cold. I like using milk as the base, as it increases the creaminess of the drink. When it’s cold the oils from the nuts rise to the top in a very thin sheen. 

*Fun Fact: drinking chocolate did not violate the terms of fasting, as dictated by the Catholic Church. Win!*

Recipe for Historical Hot Chocolate

“Take one hundred cocoa beans, two chillies, a handful of anise seed and two of vanilla (two pulverized Alexandria roses can be substituted), two drams of cinnamon, one dozen almonds and the same amount of hazelnuts, half a pound of white sugar and enough annatto to give some color. And there you have the king of chocolates.” -Curioso tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate (A Curious Treatise of the Nature and Quality of Chocolate), 1631

Cook’s Notes: Although nuts ground in a food processor can work in a pinch, I recommend using pre-ground flour, which will be a finer consistency that one can usually get at home. If you’d like it spicier, feel free to tweak the chili types/proportions to taste!


  •  1/4 cup ground cocoa, unsweetened
  •  1 dried chili pepper (chipotle), ground or chopped fine
  • 1 anise star
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  •  2 tsp. almond flour
  •  1 tsp.  hazelnut flour
  •  2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground annato for color    
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • 2 cups milk

Combine all the ingredients with the milk in a medium saucepan. Heat gently for around 5 minutes, but do not bring to a boil. Strain into cups, and enjoy!

Hot chocolate ingredients


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