The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








L.A. Burdick’s in Walpole. Courtesy photo.

Mexican hot chocolate (Chocolate Atole)
Courtesy of Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast (makes 7 cups)
½ cup masa harina (tortilla flour)
3 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 cups of milk (2 percent or whole)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Put the flour in a large saucepan with the water. Heat over low, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the cinnamon, brown sugar and milk. Heat until the drink comes to a gentle boil. Cook the hot milk mixture for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn off the heat and add the chocolate and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes or until the chocolate is melted. Remove the cinnamon stick. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Traditional style drinking chocolate
Courtesy of Dancing Lion Chocolate (makes six 1-cup servings)
Boil ¾ cup of water. Remove from heat and whisk in 12 pieces of chocolate.
Cover and let sit at least 5 but preferably 20 minutes.
Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until hot but not simmering.
Whisk vigorously or froth with a wooden molinillo frother.
Pour into a mug or drinking bowl. Enjoy.
Rosemary-scented hot chocolate
Courtesy of Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast (serves 4)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (bar or chips)
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (whole, low fat or almond)
1½ teaspoons chopped rosemary
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine heavy cream, milk and rosemary in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes to infuse the liquid with the rosemary
While the cream mixture is simmering, place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set a strainer over it.
Pour the rosemary cream over the chocolate, pressing the rosemary to extract more flavor. Let sit without stirring for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate.
Add the vanilla and stir until the chocolate is smooth. Serve immediately.
Variation: White hot chocolate
Prepare the hot chocolate as directed, substituting 8 ounces of white chocolate for the bittersweet chocolate. Keep the rosemary or prepare without.
Variation: Star anise hot chocolate
Prepare the hot chocolate as directed, substituting 1 cinnamon stick and 2 whole star anise pods for the rosemary.
Doctor up a cup
Hot cocoa and chocolate are simple to make in your own kitchen — but you can still get creative even if all you have is a packet of store-bought Swiss Miss or Nestle cocoa.
Chef and cooking instructor Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast in Hollis said replacing water with a creamier substitute like milk or half and half would add to the richness of the overall flavor.
“The fat content gives it its creaminess,” she said. “So you can have a much creamier Swiss Miss if you use skim or whole milk, or even heavy cream. … Another thing you can do is steam milk on the side to make a foam and then add it to the hot chocolate almost like you would a cappuccino.”
If you want even more flavor on top of that, Barbour suggested simmering the milk with cinnamon or rosemary before adding the powder. She said heating up milk first allows you to combine it with all different types of flavors.
“The Science of Chocolate”
If you want a more hands-on and interactive way of learning about traditional Mayan drinking chocolate, members of the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough will be offering their “science of chocolate” program at several Granite State libraries in the coming weeks.
Three programs are currently scheduled: Thursday, Feb. 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Daland Memorial Library in Mont Vernon; Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Smyth Public Library in Candia; and Saturday, March 4, from 11 a.m. to noon at the Goffstown Public Library. Each is free to attend, but pre-registration is required. The program has also been held at several local schools and assisted living programs in the past.
Museum Education Director Melissa Brooks will be at each program to tell the story of how the popularity of the drink spread first from ancient Aztec and Mayan regions to all over Europe and then to the colonial-era United States. She will also discuss how to make drinking chocolate from a cacao tree and ask volunteers to help her for a chocolate-making demonstration.
“I’ll talk about how the cacao tree grows and how the beans are processed … and I also want to discuss organic and fair trade and what it means for the world of chocolate,” she said. “The participants will also make an Aztec chocolate drink made of cocoa powder, water and chili powder.”
Brooks said even the tools you’ll use to make the drinks are authentic — she will be bringing artifacts from the museum for participants to try their hands at using, like the tablet stones to crush the cacao beans.
“It’s for a large audience,” she said. “Children who come with their families love getting to taste the chocolate, but even adults can try the drink, and parents often enjoy the story about how it was important to the Aztecs.”
Where to get specialty hot chocolate
Here are a few places that offer extra special hot chocolate. If you know of another great hot chocolate spot, let us know at 
The Black Forest Cafe & Bakery (212 Route 101, Amherst, 672-0500, makes a hot chocolate ganache made with bittersweet chocolate and a house-made melted marshmallow as a topping. You can also add a shot of Amaretto or Baileys liquor to spice it up.
The Bridge Cafe (1117 Elm St., Manchester, 647-9991, offers a rich hot chocolate with steamed milk. Options are available to add a shot of espresso for an extra charge, as well as a variety of syrup flavors that include cinnamon, peppermint, banana, caramel, coconut and more.
Dancing Lion Chocolate (917 Elm St., Manchester, 625-4043, offers the traditional Mayan drinking chocolate experience, complete with hand-thrown bowls and wooden molinillo frothing sticks. The chocolate is mixed with a blend of organic Central American-made cocoa powder and several flavors, including milk, dark and white chocolate, cinnamon, cayenne and more. Two flavors of drinking chocolate — “Mayan heat” and “creamy dark” — are also available for purchase online for six 1-cup servings per bag.
L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates (47 Main St., Walpole, 756-2882, offers five different types of drinking chocolate blended with organic South American and Caribbean cacao beans. Bags are available in 12-ounce, 2-pound and 5-pound sizes, and flavors include dark, milk, spicy dark, white, and a “single source” drinking chocolate in which you can choose from seven different countries of origin as the source.
La Cascade du Chocolat (26 Casey Drive, Hooksett, 264-7006, offers homemade drinking chocolate in 8- and 16-ounce bags available for purchase online. The recipe is made with 68 percent dark chocolate, 100 percent cocoa powder and organic cane sugar.
Popovers on the Square (8 Congress St., Portsmouth, 431-1119, and 11 Brickyard Square, Unit 23, Epping, offers several drinking chocolate options, including a homemade hot cocoa made with Dutch cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon, as well as an espresso mixed with chocolate — white, dark or milk — and steamed milk.
True Brew Barista & Cafe (45 S. Main St. and 3 Bicentennial Square, Concord, 225-2776, offers several drinking chocolate options that include a classic hot chocolate made with milk, dark or white chocolate, as well as several signature chocolate drinks that include a variety of flavors like peanut butter, vanilla, peppermint, butter rum and more.
Vicuña Chocolate Factory & Cafe (15 Main St., Peterborough, 924-2040, offers a sipping chocolate made from handcrafted dark chocolate.
Waterworks Cafe (250 Commercial St., Manchester, 782-5088, offers a hot chocolate made with Ghirardelli chocolate and whipped cream.

Cozy up with Cocoa
Where to get jazzed up hot chocolate and how to make it yourself

By Matt Ingersoll

 It’s the perfect time of year to warm up with a sweet and frothy cup of hot chocolate, and while you can go the simple route, New Hampshire chocolatiers and baristas are proving there’s more to the drink than a packet of powder and a pot of hot water.

Taking it up a notch
“When I’m inspired, I’ll add something different to our drinking chocolate and then announce it on social media,” said Richard Tango-Lowy, master chocolatier and owner of Dancing Lion Chocolate in Manchester. “We’ve made it with blood oranges, we’ve made it with caramel, I’ve added lemongrass. … We’ve done cider before at certain times of the year. It really also depends on the flavor of the chocolate.”
Tango-Lowy even offers the traditional Mayan experience of hot chocolate in his products, complete with hand-thrown bowls and a molinillo, a Mexican whisking instrument used to enhance the frothiness. Two different flavors — “Mayan heat” and “creamy dark” — are available in six one-cup servings per bag, and bowls and molinillos can be bought either separately or together.
For another original hot chocolate recipe, check out the hot chocolate marshmallow ganache prepared by The Black Forest Cafe & Bakery in Amherst. Co-owner Martha Walters said the recipe is made from scratch using bittersweet chocolate ganache and steamed milk, topped with a thick marshmallow made in house. The ganache, which is also homemade and used to make mousse cakes and brownies, is melted to make the hot chocolate.
“I think the traditional image of hot cocoa or hot chocolate is tearing open a packet of powder and adding little marshmallows that would go with it,” she said, “but we wanted to take it up a notch. … We’re always trying to look for new ways to make some of our signature drinks.”
If you visit the cafe and order the hot chocolate ganache, you’ll have the option to add a European touch, with a shot of liqueur like Baileys, Frangelico or amaretto. The marshmallows are sometimes seasonally-themed flavors, like raspberry for Valentine’s Day or peppermint around the holidays.
Homemade hot chocolate is prepared for special order online in 8- and 16-ounce bags by the chocolatiers of La Cascade Du Chocolat, who are based in Hooksett. The chocolate is made from an original recipe using organic cane sugar, cacao beans and 100 percent cocoa powder.
“We make it with chopped up bits of Ghana dark chocolate,” said co-owner and master chocolatier Tom Nash. “The problem with more commercial cocoa brands is the poor quality of the bean that’s dried down, whereas when you’re using pieces of real chocolate with the bean, it’s more palatable.”
Ancient origins
Tango-Lowy said the drinking chocolate you’ll find at Dancing Lion is prepared the way it traditionally was thousands of years ago in Central America — with water and a blend of regional chocolates, chilis and spices, and sometimes a very little pinch of sugar. It was called “xocoatl” and it spread first from Guatemala to other countries and overseas to Europe. He sources most of his ingredients from the very regions in Central and South America where they originated.
“It’s very different than what most people are used to,” he said. “It’s a little bit lighter, and the flavor is very vibrant. It gives a very kind of light and airy taste in your mouth, but it’s also very warming and filling. You will not be hungry for a while after you’ve had a cup.”
Tango-Lowy also sells authentic molinillos at his shop. The hand-carved wooden tool was introduced in Mexico as a less messy way to enhance the frothiness of your drinking chocolate. The tool is held between both palms and the froth is created by rubbing them together.
He said xocoatl did not originally contain any milk, cream or sugar; it was not until it became popularized across Europe in the early 1500s that it became the precursor to the way it is often made today.
According to Tango-Lowy, records of drinking chocolate in New Hampshire go back as far as the 1700s. In fact, General John Stark, who served in the Battle of Bennington during the Revolutionary War and who was a native of Derryfield (now Manchester), would order drinking chocolate to be provided for his soldiers for medicinal purposes.
But hot cocoa was actually invented much later in history, a fact Tango-Lowy said is a fundamental difference between hot “cocoa” and hot “chocolate.” Though the two terms are often used interchangeably today to describe the same drink, they are actually made with totally different ways to prepare the cacao bean.
 “Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, which you get from taking away the cacao bean by squeezing out the cocoa butter, and you usually make that with milk,” he said. “Hot chocolate is made by actually melting chocolate, so you’re using the whole bean, including both the cocoa powder and cocoa butter.”
Shelf life and nutrition
Hot chocolate and cocoa are both very high in antioxidants and can even be good sources of protein and calcium if you make them with milk or cream. But the proper storage of the cocoa powder you use in your kitchen is also very important.
“The first thing to do is to look at what the label says in terms of use by or recommended by date on the package of cocoa,” said Joy Gagnon of UNH Cooperative Extension’s Nutrition Connections program. “That date doesn’t necessarily mean it’d be unsafe to drink, but it will lose its flavor and quality by that point.”
But Gagnon added that if you buy the powder in a canister rather than in a boxful of packages, it should be used by the expiration date once the canister is opened.
Some brands of powder contain dried milk products, and Gagnon said while powdered or dried milk can often last a couple of years on the shelf, making sure it is kept in a dry, cool environment is recommended.
“Powdered milk that is stored in a warm or wet area will go bad a lot faster, within a couple of months,” she said. “Every brand is different, but it’s usually easy to tell how it is made in the label description.”
Gagnon said most brands of cocoa powder average about 20 grams of sugar per serving — that’s before any cream or milk you might add. She added that using half the amount of powder, or any amount less than the suggested serving, may actually be better for you while at the same time not losing its taste.
“If you do the math, that’s four grams per teaspoon, so that’s around five teaspoons of sugar in just one cup of hot cocoa, which is kind of a lot,” she said. 

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