Dana Slatkin

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate

I could spend all day browsing in a bookstore. Surrounded by worlds awaiting discovery, jazz music playing in the background, the toasty aromas of lattes and muffins thick in the air, I slink into a trance…

On a recent vacation morning where the kids’ activities all thankfully aligned and I was left with a few hours to myself, I stopped by Explore Booksellers, a charming bookshop in a Victorian townhouse, the only one in Aspen that has managed to endure against all odds. Of course, I bee-lined for the cookbook section. Curling up into a corner labeled Food Writing, I delved into Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table and Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. Two hours later, I emerged from my bookstore bliss, newly inspired.

It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the shelves of books that I will probably never have time to read. But even one revelatory passage or breakthrough idea makes the trip worthwhile. Especially when it comes in the form of a memorable recipe. Here is one that still makes me drool. It is the most enticing recipe for hot chocolate that I have ever read. And it comes from a book I frequently give to friends as a luscious gift of love, compassion, and food all in one. If you are looking for a delicious adventure, pick up a copy of The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. In the meantime, whip up a steaming cup of Abuelita’s magic.

Note: The instructions are quoted directly from the book. They are a departure from my usual format, but to turn them into standard recipe-speak would be to deprive you of the author’s distinctly beautiful writing. Enjoy!

(adapted from The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister)

* In the book, the narrator probably used a wooden spindle called a molinillo, a traditional Spanish utensil used to froth hot chocolate. Generally hand-carved and lovely to look at, the molinillo functioned as a whisk, which today does a similar job but not nearly with the same finesse.

Bonjour Primo Frother

My magic wand is the BonJour Primo Frother, which makes super foamy milk for coffee drinks and hot chocolate.

Don’t forget to enter our monthly cooking contest! And browse our complete recipe collection.

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  1. Erica Bauermeister says:

    How fun to see this!  I love your version (and it really gets around the problem of finding Mexican chocolate, which can be hard in some parts of the U.S.).  If you want to see my version, plus some other recipes from the book, you can check out my website at http://www.ericabauermeister.com.  Look under “Side Dishes” :)  Thanks for reading!

  2. dana says:

    Thanks so much for your comment. Keep me posted on your upcoming projects. I am a huge fan.

    Best wishes,


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