This Mexican hot chocolate is popular during the Christmas holiday and is especially welcoming during those cold winter mornings.  The cornmeal ingredient makes it filling (almost a meal) and loaded with health benefits, such as help lower cholesterol and help manage diabetes. Accompanied by a light cheesy Brazilian bread, it makes for a great quick and healthy morning meal.

Hot Chocolate Ingredients

• 3 cups of Water
• 2 Cinnamon sticks
• 1 Anise star
• ¼ cup Masa harina (corn meal)
• 2 cups of 1% milk
• 4 oz. Mexican chocolate, chopped
• ½ cup Brown sugar, packed
• Pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Cheese Bread Ingredients

• 1 ½ cups Tapioca flour
• ½ Farmer's cheese (grated parmesan cheese is a good alternative)
• 1 Egg
• ⅓ cup Olive oil
• ⅔ cup of 1% milk
• 1 tsp. Salt (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a large saucepan bring water to a boil and add cinnamon sticks and star anise. Remove from the heat, cover and let the spices steep for about 30 minutes.

2. In the meantime, prepare Brazilian Cheesy Bread by placing all ingredients and blend for about one minute until smooth.  You may need to scrape sides and blend once again.

3. Grease mini muffin pan and pour batter to the top.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

5. Let cool for one minute before transferring to a serving dish (serve warm).

6. To continue hot chocolate, remove the cinnamon sticks and star anise.  Place pot on low heat and slowly add the masa harina while whisking until well combined.

7. Add milk, chocolate, brown sugar, nutmeg and continue to whisk.

8. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.  Continue whisking occasionally.

9. Pour and serve immediately.

10. Float with cheesy bread.

Makes 5 cups of hot chocolate and 20 mini cheese breads.

 

Elizabeth Carrion, a Dominican, co-founded Mi Cocina, a New Jersey-based catering service that also offers cooking classes, with her sister, Ana Martinez. Follow her on Twitter: @micocinalatina and visit her website micocina-latina.com.

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