First they started guessing the spices: Nutmeg? Nope, no nutmeg.
Cinnamon? It didn't take Lyla long to tease out the cinnamon from the other spices in the hot chocolate. She knows her cinnamon.
Cardamom? Very impressive, Sydney; I'd be hard-pressed to pick out cardamom from a spice melange.
Ginger? No, but that would be good. I made a mental note to add that next time.
Then they got to guessing what made the hot chocolate so creamy. Broccoli? Nope. Apples? No way. Basil? Carrots? Pumpkin? Leila was getting warm, very warm.
Squash!!! Chase was very pleased with his answer, until I made him decide which kind of squash. Butternut Squash, of course.
Secret Ingredient Spicy Hot Chocolate was not quite as tricky for them to figure out as I had anticipated. Sure, these kids are smart, and they are creative, that I know. But I did not realize that they also possessed amazingly accurate palates.
Guessing my secret in just under 5 minutes left us some time to enjoy the thick, creamy, spicy hot chocolate, and talk about writing, blogging, and cooking.
Homework: make some Secret Ingredient Spicy Hot Chocolate of your own, play with the spices, and report back. If only school was like this when I was a kid...
Secret Ingredient Spicy Hot Chocolate
Ibarra Mexican chocolate makes this an authentic Mexican hot chocolate, but I think it would be good with any quality chocolate product. If you want to add some spice, throw in some crushed red pepper flakes too.
- 2 cups cooked butternut squash pulp, from 1 large squash
- 3 tablets of Ibarra Mexican chocolate, or 9 oz of another chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 8 cups milk, any milk you like
- 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- pinch red pepper flakes
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and place on an oiled foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down.
- Bake the squash at 375 degrees Farenheit for 40 minutes, or until the pulp is very soft.
- Scoop out the seeds and discard, and scoop out the flesh. Puree with 1/2 cup of the milk in a blender, a food processor or with an immersion blender.
- In a large saucepan, mix the milk and the spices.
- Place the chocolate into a bowl and microwave on low for 30 seconds at a time, until it is slightly melted.
- Add the melted chocolate to the warming milk, and whisk vigorously.
- Add the squash puree.
- Continue to warm over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes. Do not let the milk come to a boil.
- Once heated through and smooth, turn off the heat and whisk by hand or with an immersion blender until frothy. Serve, trying not to divulge the secret.
You may also strain the hot chocolate through a fine mesh strainer to remove all the pulpy bits of squash for a smoother drink. Whisk again after straining.