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This hot chocolate is spicy in a gingerbread way, with a very mild chile bite. If you're serving it to small children, you could skip the chile powder or reduce it to a pinch. Also good to note, the higher the percentage of cocoa solids in your bittersweet chocolate, the less sweet your brew will be. We used a 70 percent chocolate and it was just sweet enough. If you're unsure and worried about over-sweetening, just add the sugar at the end to taste.

Then enjoy your cup of comfort, with a marshmallow, or without.

Spicy Hot Chocolate

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

Heaping 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder, or to taste

13/4 cups whole milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Marshmallows or whipped cream, optional

In a medium pot, whisk together chocolate, cocoa, sugar and chile powder. Place pan over medium-low heat and whisk until chocolate begins to melt. Slowly whisk in milk, then cream. Drop in cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer.

Remove pot from heat. Cover pot tightly and steep 1 hour.

Whisk in vanilla and taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if you like.

Warm over low heat before straining and serving hot, with marshmallows or whipped cream if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Food on 02/18/2015

Print Headline: On real chilly days, try chile in hot chocolate for warmth

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