Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.
If you’re lucky, by now the shopping, the wrapping, the baking, the decorating and the cards are nothing more than check marks on your to-do list.
It’s time to sit back and relax, at least for one night before Santa comes and the relatives arrive.
Cozy up in front of the fireplace or Christmas tree and enjoy a silent night, perhaps with a cup of tea or extra fancy hot chocolate, like this one from Mexican cooking expert Roberto Santibanez.
It’s from his new book, Tacos, Tortas and Tamales (Wiley & Sons/hardcover, $19.99) and it’s a version of authentic Mexican hot chocolate, which will easily shame anything that comes from an envelope.
THICK MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE
⅓ cup tortilla flour (masa harina) (see note)
2 cups whole milk
6 oz. (about 2 disks) Mexican chocolate (see note)
¼ to ⅓ cup tightly packed dark brown sugar (see note)
1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
Blend the tortilla flour with 2½ cups of water until well combined, about 15 seconds. Pour the mixture into a medium pot, then add 2 more cups of water and the milk, chocolate, sugar and cinnamon.
Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently to make sure the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Adjust the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, so the chocolate melts, the cinnamon steeps and the flavors meld. If you’d like, gradually add more sugar to taste and simmer very gently for 2 to 3 minutes more. If the drink has lumps, strain the mixture through a sieve.
Ladle the hot atole (chocolate) into mugs, or cover and keep the drink warm over very low heat, gradually adding water to maintain the consistency.
Makes 6 to 8 drinks.
Editor’s notes: Use the greater amount of sugar if you prefer a sweeter hot chocolate. Masa harina and Mexican chocolate are available in Mexican grocery stores throughout the Akron area.