The kitchen gardens bountiful summer harvest of herbs are hanging about drying for winters use. The fragrances fill the air indoors as we begin to settle in on some chilly fall nights. The aroma beckons their use in that first warm cup of homemade cocoa. Who am I to argue with such things? It's time to pull out the mugs and teapot.
The special blend for this cocoa stems from the history deep within the Mayan Indians and preserved among the Mexican People. Using a Mexican chocolate called Ibarra gives the cocoa a sweet touch of cinnamon. The final touch is an infusion made from the herb Mexican Mint Marigold. Also called “Texas Tarragon,” the herb gives the cocoa the faint southwestern favors of anise and licorice.
Mexican Mint Marigold comes from high within the mountainous regions of Mexico. It's the perfect herb to grow in the southern regions where Tarragon simply won't grow. The perennial is very drought tolerant and makes a beautiful display in our kitchen garden during the fall months. The tiny golden yellow flowers are among the last to bloom before frost still providing food to the honeybees. If harvested while the flowers remain on the stalks and hung to dry adds extra beauty to garden and herb crafts.
Simply add your cocoa to a mason jar and decorate with a sprig of Mexican Mint Marigold or your favorite mint, along with a couple sticks of cinnamon. Tie it on the mouth of the jar with a piece of jute rope or raffia. They make a simple and elegant gift to give during the holidays.
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
3/4 cup finely chopped Mexican chocolate (Ibarra)
Optional: pinch of dried Mexican Mint Marigold finely crushed
Simply place all the ingredients except the Mexican Chocolate in a food processor and pulsed it a few times. I put the Mexican Chocolate in a heavy ziplock bag and used my little girlie hammer to crush it extra fine. Add it to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulsed it a few more times. The recipe makes 1 quart or 2 pints for gifts.
I put a couple nice size teaspoons of the cocoa mix in my favorite chocolate mug and sprinkled a small pinch of Mexican Mint Marigold on top. Just pour on some hot water and enjoy the warm Mayan Indian cocoa flavors.