Spiced Chilli Hot Chocolate – a sweetly ethical and healthy(ish) treat

by sophie on October 8, 2007 · 14 comments

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Spiced chilli hot chocolate is an idea as old as well, hot chocolate! The earliest traces of hot chocolate, found in Mayan tombs in Guatamala dating back to 460 A.D, had been made from a paste ground from cocoa seeds mixed with cornmeal and chillis. I like this spicy hot chocolate as an occasional mid afternoon pick me up when I am struggling to concentrate on something complicated – there’s definitely something in the research from Nottingham University showing that a cocoa rich drink can improve blood flow to the brain. Chilli is also well known for improving blood flow all over your body so this would be equally welcome to warm you up after a bracing winter walk outside.

Sadly chocolate is not the health food that some clever marketing people would like us to believe (or that we would like to believe perhaps?), but for an occasional sweet treat a mug of hot spicy drinking chocolate is not such a bad thing. Two tips to keep it on the healthy side; first, use good quality plain chocolate rather than a sweetened milk chocolate or chocolate powder and second, use semi-skimmed or skimmed milk to keep this on the low fat side. All chocolate is high in sugar and fat (dark chocolate just has a little bit less fat and a little bit more sugar) and so the health gain in choosing dark (plain chocolate) is not really about fat but is because dark chocolate contains more cocoa solids, usually around the 70%. It is the cocoa solids in chocolate that have been associated with having heart health benefits and that contain valuable anti-oxidants.

If you’ve ever heard nutritionists talking about sugary and sweet foods being empty calories they mean that these foods provide calories but bugger all else of nutritional usefulness. Happily this hot chocolate is well away from being empty calories with those 70% cocoa solids and a good helping of bone healthy calcium in the milk. If you don’t drink cows milk just go for whatever alternative you normally use but try to choose one that has been fortified with calcium.

And now to the all important third tip – for a super enjoyable, guilt-free beverage experience make your drink from tasty fairly traded dark chocolate! Rachel who makes and bakes many lovely things over at Rkhooks is gathering together all of our best chocolate recipes to promote the chocolate campaign from Stop the Traffik. The chocolate campaign is there to draw attention to the shocking practice of using trafficked child slave labour to harvest cocoa beans on the Cote D’Ivoire. The chocolate campaign web site has some information about where to buy your traffik-free chocolate from but essentially for a chocolate to be awarded Fairtrade status it must be guaranteed not to have involved any trafficked labour in its production so you can just look out for fairtrade chocolate.


spiced chilli hot chocolate in the pan

Recipe for Spiced chilli hot chocolate

Serves 2

Enough of your milk of choice to fill two mugs (I use semi skimmed organic cows milk)
1 fresh red chilli
50g of fairtrade dark chocolate
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp honey
1 pinch ground ginger
Entirely optional – a pinch of vanilla infused sea salt

If you have one now is the time to dig out that little battery-powered aerolatte whisk languishing at the back of your cupboard. If you don’t have a microwave to melt the chocolate and don’t fancy messing about with water baths just grate the chocolate and chuck it straight into the warm milk (it will just take a little bit longer to dissolve). I have included two methods here – one for chilli fiends and one that is a little more restrained.

Method 1 - delicately warming
Make two incisions down the sides of your red chilli but not enough to cut it in half or expose the seeds. Put the chilli, milk and spices into a pan and warm gently for five minutes. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on a low heat. Add the honey and melted chocolate to the milk and heat gently for another ten minutes until the milk thickens slightly. Remove the chilli before serving.

Method 2 – seriously spicy
Cut the chilli in half and remove the seeds. Put one chilli half and all of the milk and spices into a pan and warm gently for five minutes. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on a low heat. Remove the chilli from the milk. Add in the honey and melted chocolate and heat gently for another ten minutes until the milk thickens slightly.

Leave a Comment

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

maninas: food matters October 8, 2007 at 18:24

mmmmmm this sounds lovely….
my favourite hot chocolate is to mix maya gold mix (can’t remember the name) cocoa powder and twinnings 65% cocoa hot choclate. i shall definitely have to try this!

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maninas: food matters October 8, 2007 at 20:32

Just made it! Delish! Mmmmm

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sophie October 8, 2007 at 22:47

Wow Maninas – you were very quick off the mark trying that out! Glad you enjoyed it.
We don’t have the maya gold cocoa powder yet in the UK, just the plain one. That’s just not fair :-)

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Wendy October 9, 2007 at 09:35

I haven’t had hot chocolate since a trip to the Strathpeffer Belgian chocolate shop (wonderful wee place) last year. Ordered a cup and it was so very very rich I was jittery for hours afterwards!
Love the sound of the chilli in this though. May have to try hot chocolate again…

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R khooks October 9, 2007 at 10:36

Just want I’ll be needing when it starts getting cold and wet around here. Thanks for participating. The round up is now up. Check out the other entries and send me your vote!

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JennDZ_The Leftover Queen October 9, 2007 at 12:28

I just saw this recipe on Food Matters – Maninas’ blog. It sounds wonderful – this is my absolute favorite way to drink chocolate. YUM!

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kate October 9, 2007 at 13:33

what a fantastic way to have hot choc. I’ve always eaten the chilli choc but never hot choc ! Also like how u have taken the first picture.Looks very christmasy n festive with the red and cinnamon and choc.Nice shot.

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Nabeela October 10, 2007 at 08:26

yummmm….spicy hot chocolate! that sounds right up my alley!

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maninas: food matters October 12, 2007 at 16:30

Sophie, do you know the origin of this drink, or did you just come up with it, inspired by what you know about chili+choc? thanks

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Sophie October 14, 2007 at 19:31

Wendy – I think its time you tried hot chocolate again (ready for the Winter!). It really needn’t be such a traumatic experience, unless of course some idiot tells you to put loads really spicy chilli into it :-)
Rachel – thank *you* for organising (and to everybody else reading, go and check out the full chocolate filled round up on Rachel’s blog)
Jen, Kate and Nabeela – many thanks for your comments, I hope you all enjoy this if you try it out!
Maninas – I have to confess that this isn’t a terribly original creation, there are quite a few chilli hot choc recipes around on the web and I had been meaning to try the idea out for quite a while. I reckon my contribution to the melting pot has been to make a slightly healthier version and also to provide a way of making a very subtly spicy version. The idea of using a pierced chilli to give a gentle heat is quite a common idea in cooking curries so I had a hunch that it would work well for this!

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candace May 15, 2008 at 04:56

YUMMY! This is the best recipe site I have seen so far. I am definately subscribing to your feed. Here is a yummy sweet recipe I like http://buzz.prevention.com/traditional-oatmeal-raisin-cookies/

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Nikki September 7, 2008 at 16:29

Hi there, just tried your hot chocolate, it’s a little different and tastes weird but I like it and it’s really thick and christmassy!!! Can’t wait to make it later on, nearer Winter!

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Lucy December 13, 2010 at 07:14

I am looking forward to making this i heard a bout a drink similar ina movie and couldnt recist to see how it tastes

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