cookbooks

Chocolate. Mrs. W. E. Thomas. Recipe

History of Chocolate:

Chocolate has a rich and ancient history, dating back to the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. The Mayans believed that cacao, the bean from which chocolate is derived, was a divine gift from the gods. They would grind the cacao beans into a paste and mix it with water, creating a bitter and spicy beverage called "xocoatl." This beverage was reserved for the elite, and it was often flavored with spices and honey.

When the Aztecs came into contact with the Mayans, they adopted their love for cacao and further enhanced its preparation. They believed that cacao possessed magical and aphrodisiac properties. The Aztecs would add chili peppers, vanilla, and other indigenous ingredients to their cacao beverage, which they called "chocolatl." It was considered a luxury and was used in religious rituals and special occasions.

When Christopher Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Americas, they were introduced to cacao by the Aztecs. They brought cacao beans back to Europe, where it quickly became popular. However, it wasn't until sugar was added to cacao that the modern concept of chocolate as a sweet treat began to take shape.

In the 18th century, Walter Baker & Co. became one of the first chocolate manufacturers in America. They produced high-quality chocolate, which they sold in the form of unsweetened chocolate squares. Mrs. W. E. Thomas's recipe for chocolate, using Walter Baker & Co.'s No. 1 chocolate, demonstrates how early Americans enjoyed their chocolate hot and as a comforting beverage.

Recipe for Mrs. W. E. Thomas's Chocolate:

Ingredients:
- 2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate (Walter Baker & Co.'s No. 1 chocolate)
- 1 small cup of sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of hot water
- 1 large pint of good rich milk
- 1 pint of hot water
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch
- Whipped cream (for serving)
- Vanilla extract (for flavoring)

Instructions:
1. Begin by scraping fine two ounces (two squares) of unsweetened chocolate. It is recommended to use Walter Baker & Co.'s No. 1 chocolate for the best results.

2. Place the scraped chocolate into a granite ware pan and add a small cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and two tablespoons of hot water. Mix well.

3. Place the pan over heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring it constantly until it becomes smooth and glossy, similar to caramel.

4. Once the chocolate mixture reaches the desired consistency, add one large pint of good rich milk and one pint of hot water. Continue stirring constantly.

5. In a separate bowl, dissolve one tablespoon of corn starch in a little cold milk or water. Add this corn starch mixture to the boiling chocolate mixture and continue stirring.

6. Allow the mixture to come to a boil once again. This will help thicken the chocolate. Remember to stir constantly to avoid any lumps.

7. Once the chocolate has thickened to your liking, it is ready to be served. Pour it into cups or mugs.

8. For an extra touch of indulgence, serve the chocolate with whipped cream on top, flavored with a little vanilla extract. Alternatively, if whipped cream is not available, you can achieve a frothy texture by pouring the chocolate from one pitcher into another or by beating it with a whisk.

9. Enjoy the chocolate while it is still hot, savoring its smooth and rich flavors.

Additional Notes:
- If you only have skimmed milk, adjust the recipe by using more milk and less water. This will help maintain a creamy consistency despite the lower fat content.
- Do not omit the pinch of salt, as it is essential for enhancing the overall flavor of the chocolate.

Similar Recipe Dishes:

1. Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows:
- Prepare a rich hot chocolate base using cocoa powder or grated chocolate, sugar, milk, and water.
- Serve the hot chocolate in mugs, topped with marshmallows that will melt and create a creamy and sweet layer.
- Optional: You can also add a sprinkle of cocoa powder or grated chocolate on top for added visual appeal.

2. Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate:
- Prepare a traditional hot chocolate base using cocoa powder, sugar, milk, and water.
- Add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of chili powder to spice up the flavor.
- Serve the hot chocolate with a cinnamon stick for stirring and additional flavor infusion.

3. Peppermint Hot Chocolate:
- Prepare a basic hot chocolate base using cocoa powder, sugar, milk, and water.
- Add a few drops of peppermint extract or stir in crushed peppermint candy to infuse the chocolate with a refreshing minty flavor.
- Optionally, garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed candy cane for a festive touch.

These variations on hot chocolate provide a delightful twist to the classic recipe, offering a range of flavors and indulgent experiences for chocolate lovers.

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