Mexican chocolate has a grainy texture because it is made with toasted ground cocoa beans, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Depending on the brand and how intensely chocolaty you like your hot chocolate, you may want to adjust the amount of chocolate.
Mexican Hot Chocolate is the perfect accompaniment to the traditional Mexican sweet bread, Pan de Muerto. Watch a slide show where Fany Gerson explains how to make Pan de Muerto step by step.
Finely chop or grate the chocolate. Toast the chile in a small (8-inch) skillet, over medium heat, turning once, until fragrant, about 2 minutes per side.
In a 1-quart saucepan, heat the milk or water over medium heat until it's gently simmering. Add the chile and vanilla bean. Turn off the heat and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chile and vanilla bean and bring the milk back up to a simmer over medium heat. Add the chopped chocolate. Stir until it's dissolved and pour into a pitcher. Froth with a molinillo or whisk and serve immediately.
Photo: Colin Clark