The Microwave: Mexican Breakfast Hot Chocolate

Sunday June 5, 2011

ancho chile powder

Love hot chocolate as much as life itself? You have come to the right place for inspiration.

One of the taste sensations of our cross cultural cuisine is the emergence of the combination of chocolate spiked with a bit of chile powder. It is showing up in cakes and cookies as much as mole and chili beans. As it happens, chiles are a counterpoint to dark chocolate and accents its natural flavors just like coffee or vanilla does.

Ancho chile powder, a versatile spice made from ground dried poblano chiles (the mild green chile used for stuffing chile rellenos) is considered the mildest of the pure chile powders. It goes beautifully with orange zest, almonds, and cloves, the essence of Mexican chocolate, to make a thick hot cocoa unlike any other. Look for ancho powder in the Mexican food section of the supermarket hanging on the wall with the Mexican oregano and dried corn husks. Pure chile powder is NOT the same as the commercial mixture called chili powder used for making chili the stew. Then look for almond milk, which is the milk used in this cocoa, in the section with the boxed soy milks.

Serve with a breakfast burrito, a quesadilla, a muffin, or scone. Or drink as your late night cocoa, even an afternoon pick-me-up. You will love this, especially if you are a hot chocolate aficianado.

photo by kadek bayek


Cookware: 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup

Microwave Wattage: 1,100 to 1,300

Cook Time: About 3 1/2 minutes

Standing Time: None

Serves 2


  • 2 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 whole clove
  • 2 to 3 inch strip of orange zest, organic preferred
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar, to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder, to taste


1. Pour the almond milk, clove, and strip of orange zest in the measuring cup. Microcook on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, until just hot. Discard the clove and strip of zest.

2. Whisk in the cocoa powder, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of the chile powder. Taste for sugar and chile. Microcook on HIGH another 40 to 60 seconds. Do not boil. Stir. Pour into a mugs and serve immediately.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cooking, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2010, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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