Mexican Hot Chocolate

INGREDIENTS: (Serves 4)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

6 whole cloves

4 3-inch cinnamon sticks

2 cups milk

1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

1 cup whipping cream, divided in two

PREPARATION:

1. Pour milk into a saucepan, add vanilla bean and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

2. Mix cocoa, sugar, water, cloves and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly and cook over low heat for 3 minutes.

3. Heat milk over med-high heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove vanilla bean.

4. Gradually whisk milk and 1/2 cup cream into cocoa mixture. Cook until hot but do not boil.

5. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Remove the cinnamon sticks and pat them dry.

6. In a chilled bowl, whip the remaining cream to soft peaks.

7. Whisk the chocolate until frothy.

To serve:

Pour into 4 mugs. Spoon some of the whipped cream on top and lay a cinnamon stick on top of each.

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