Category Archives: Mexican

Mayan Spice Truffles

MAYAN SPICE TRUFFLES
MAYAN SPICE TRUFFLES

Recipe:
1 Bag of Chocolate Chips
1 Can of Condensed Milk
2 Tablespoons of Mayan Spice Blend*
( See Recipe for Details)

Condiments for Coating:
Use 1 cup of Cocoa Powder, and Nuts
Nuts can be anything Sesame Seeds to Almonds, Pistachios

Instructions:

1.Melt 1 Bag of Semi- Sweet Chocolate Chips over Bain Marie ( Water Bath)
2.Add 1 Cup of Condensed Milk mix until smooth and creamy
3.Set aside and Let cool.
4.When the chocolate mixture is room temperature,Put in Fridge in large 8 x 10 baking dish for 1 hour minimum.
5.Take out fridge and with gloves, roll Chocolate into Mini Balls the size of a small ball
6.Set aside
7.Get Large Plate and spread with nut mixture
8. Get Chocolate Balls and swirl in mixture
9.put on Clean Plate
10.Put in Gift Boxes or store in fridge with a lid. They should keep for up to 1 week.

Your Truffles are ready now and make excellent gifts or treats to keep in fridge and pop in your mouth.
You can make all kinds of Truffles and get really creative. More later on this in Sabrina’s Latin Kitchen.

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Part 1: History of Chocolate: Ancient Civilizations and the Cacao Bean

The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink [cocoa] permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.” Montezuma II (1502-1520)

Cacao Bean before it gets processed into Chocolate
Cacao Bean before it gets processed into Chocolate

In the book,The True History of Chocolate, authors Sophie and  Michael Coe make a case that the earliest linguistic evidence of chocolate consumption stretches back three or even four millennia. The history of chocolate begins in MesoamericaChocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao,can be traced to the Mokayaand other pre- Olmecpeoples,with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to to 1900 BC.

Near the beginning of the 16th century, the Aztecs were believed to first make chocolate, although it goes back much farther. The Mayans wrote about cacao ( Ka-Kow) a Mayan word on their pottery as early as 500 A.D., but some believe chocolate dates back to a much older time during Olmec civilization, which preceded the Mayans.The Mesoamerican civilization’s chocolate a bitter drink made from a variety of local ingredients mixed with ground cacao beans.

An officer serving with Cortes observed Motecuhzoma, who was the ruler of the Aztecs.  They found that Montezuma was drinking 50 flagons of chocolate every day. This beverage, which was sometimes made with wine or water, could be seasoned with chili pepper, vanilla, and pimiento.  It was known to cure diarrhea and dysentery.  It also was believed to be an aphrodisiac.  Cortez is known to have tried the beverage, but he found it too bitter.  However he did write to King Carlos the first of Spain, calling “xocoatl” a “beverage that builds up resistance and fights fatigue.” Etymologists trace the origin of the word “chocolate” to the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”

Bean of the gods
Bean of the gods

For several centuries in pre-modern Latin America, cacao beans were considered valuable enough to use as currency. One bean could be traded for a tamale, while 100 beans could purchase a good turkey hen, according to a 16th-century Aztec document.

Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical, or even divine, properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death. According to Chloe Doutre-Roussel’s book The Chocolate Connoisseur, Aztec sacrifice victims who felt too melancholy to join in ritual dancing before their death were often given a gourd of chocolate (tinged with the blood of previous victims) to cheer them up.
cacao10
Roasted Cacao Beans

Sweetened chocolate didn’t appear until Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native cuisine. Legend has it that the Aztec king Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with a banquet that included drinking chocolate, having tragically mistaken him for a reincarnated deity instead of a conquering invader. Chocolate didn’t suit the foreigners’ taste buds at first –one described it in his writings as “a bitter drink for pigs” – but once mixed with honey or cane sugar, it quickly became popular throughout Spain.

Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical, or even divine, properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death. According to Chloe Doutre-Roussel’s book The Chocolate Connoisseur, Aztec sacrifice victims who felt too melancholy to join in ritual dancing before their death were often given a gourd of chocolate (tinged with the blood of previous victims) to cheer them up.

Chocolate after Colonialization
By the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe, believed to have nutritious, medicinal and even aphrodisiac properties (it’s rumored that Casanova was especially fond of the stuff).But it remained largely a privilege of the rich until the invention of the steam engine made mass production possible in the late 1700s.

Bibliography:
  •  “The True History of Chocolate”, authors Sophie and Michael Coe
  • “The Chocolate Connoisseur” Chloe Doutre- Roussel.
  •  “Traités nouveaux & curieux du café du thé et du chocolate”, by Philippe Sylvestre Dufour, 1685.

 More about the History of Chocolate and Chocolate Recipes in Mexican Cuisine in next installment  of Sabrina’s Latin Kitchen.

Recipe for Mole Sauce

Ingredients for Mole
Ingredients for Mole

Makes 6 cups

Ingredients
6 Ancho Chile Pods
6 guajillo chili pods
6 arbol chili pods
½ cup raisins
8 garlic cloves
1 medium white onion – peeled and quartered
3 medium plum tomato
3 to 4 medium tomatillo
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
1/8th tsp. anise seeds
1/8th tsp. coriander seeds
1 TBS sesame seeds
4 cloves
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 TBS vegetable shortening or lard
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup raw peanuts
1 corn tortilla
½ cup soaking liquid
2 cups chicken stock
5.5 oz. Mexican drinking chocolate (1 round tablet) or 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate

Instructions
Remove the seeds and stem from the dry chili pods. Place them in a dry skillet and toast them until starting to blister. Place in a bowl. Add the raisins to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until puffed. Add to the chilies. Cover with boiling water and weigh down with a plate. Allow soaking for about 30 minutes.
While the pods are soaking, add the garlic and onion to the skillet. Cook until charred on all sides. Set aside. When garlic is cool enough, peel it. Add the tomatoes to the skillet. Repeat the process.

Add the sesame seeds, anise, coriander and cinnamon to the pan. Toast for a couple of minutes until fragrant, stirring constantly. Place in a mortar or coffee-grinder with the cloves and turn into a powder. Add shortening to the skillet and melt. Add the nuts and brown. Set aside. Add the tortilla to the shortening and brown well.

Place the hydrated chilies and raisins in a blender with ½ a cup of soaking liquid. Blend well. Transfer to a sieve and strain into a bowl. Rinse the blender and add all of the other ingredients,except the chocolate – and blend. Pass through a sieve into the same bowl where the chilies are. Mix sauce well. Place the sauce in a large pot – it will spatter so be careful – and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Note* You can keep this sauce for up to 6 months in the freezer.

Chicken Mole –

Mole con Arroz
Mole con Arroz

This recipe was made with my homemade mole. Go to the Mole Recipe on how to do it properly.

Here is what you need to do for 4 people:
3 cups mole sauce
2 cups shredded chicken or 8 cooked chicken thighs or legs
3 TBS sesame seeds
Place the chicken and the sauce in a pan. Bring it to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, dry toast the sesame seeds for about 6 minutes.
Sprinkle the seeds over the cooked chicken and serve with white rice. Enjoy!

Mayan Spice Brownies

Mayan Spice Brownies

Fudgy Mayan Spice Brownies


Ingredients:

  • 10 T unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)

  • 1 1/4 c. sugar

  • 3/4 c. plus 2 T. unsweetened cocoa

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

  • 3-4 tsps Mayan Spice Blend ( see Recipe from Previous Post)

  • 2 cold large eggs or 3 Medium Eggs

  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

  • 2/3 c. chocolate chips


Instructions:

Heat the oven to 325F, and line an 8-inch square baking pan with tin foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides, so you can take the brownies out of the pan more easily when you’re done.

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Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa,  and Mayan  Spice Blend and salt in a medium heat-proof bowl, and set it into a skillet of simmering water or double boiler. Do not allow water to touch base of pan. Stir it occasionally, and let it sit in its hot water bath until the butter melts and everything is mixed together well. The recipe says to keep heating it until it’s almost too hot to touch, then cool it off until its warm.

Stir in the vanilla extract,  stir in the eggs, one at a time, vigorously. Once the batter is smooth, shiny, and creamy looking, add in the flour.

Chocolatey Goodness

Mix it all up until the flour disappears into the batter, add in the chocolate chips, and spread the sumptuous thick brownie batter into the pan.

Bake the brownies for about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven, until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Let them cool completely in the pan, and when they’re cooled off, pull the brownies out with the tin foil and cut them on a cutting board.

Mayan Spice Blend

Mayan Spice Blend
Mayan Spice Blend

    To  Make Mayan Spice Blend, you will need authentic spices, a molcajete,  a 4oz Ball Jar with a lid.

Here are the spices you will need, since people’s tastes vary, you can add more or less, Cayenne Pepper to your liking. Cayenne Pepper has Capsaicin which has many medicinal properties, it helps circulation, cardiovascular function, and has even been told to relief people when they are having a heart attack.

Molcajete or Mexican Mortar
Stone Molcajete

3 Tblspn. Cinnamon

1 1/2 Tspn. of Anise

1 1/2 Tspns of Allspice

1 1/2 Tspns of Nutmeg ( optional, since Allspice has Nutmeg)

1 Tspn Clove

1 Tspn of Cayenne

 

I always try to try a little bit on my hand, you will feel a sweetness and then the biting sting of the Cayenne on the back of your tongue.

Mayan Spice Blend
Mayan Spice Blend-

This Spice Blend can be prepared in advance for when you want to add it to Mayan Hot Chocolate, Mayan Truffles, Mayan Brownies. For Mayan Spice Brownies, stay tuned. I will be posting something soon!

Enjoy ! Bueno Provecho !

 

Mayan Spice Hot Chocolate

Mayan Spice Hot Chocolate
Mayan Spice Hot Chocolate

In Mexican ancient civilizations, before the Spanish conquistadors imported chocolate to Spain and added sugar, the ancient Mayans and Aztecs drank the bitter cacao

(“Ka-Kow”) mixing it with wine, and adding spices: vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and chile.  Remember when Juliet Binoche adds chiles to her chocolate in the movie Chocolat ? Well, you don’t have to be a movie star or an Aztec Emperor to make your own Mayan Hot Chocolate with this ancient recipe of chile-infused milk, cinnamon, nuts and vanilla. This is an excellent drink when the weather is cold or to treat yourself after a long days work, surely, it will warm you up and soothe your soul.

Ingredients
1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed (with gloves)
5 cups whole or lowfat, or nonfat milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate or 3 tablets Mexican chocolate, cut into 1/4″pieces
2 tablespoons sugar or honey, or to taste
l tablespoon almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine
Whipped cream

Instructions
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat water to boiling; add chile pepper. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain water and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves. Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add chile-infused* water, a little at a time, tasting to make sure the flavor isn’t too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk. Serve in small cups and offer ground almonds, hazelnuts and sesame seeds and whipped cream.

Serves 4-6
*Chile can be infused in Milk instead of water
Enjoy !