Hot chocolate has never tasted so scrumptious, thanks to New Mexico red chile and a host of holiday spices, in this recipe from chef Rocky Durham, which appears in The New Mexico Magazine Centennial Cookbook. ¡Salud!

  • 1 2-ounce tablet Mexican
  • chocolate (such as Ibarra)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon anise seed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon hot New Mexican     red chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons blue cornmeal
  • 2½ cups milk or half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar
  • Pinch of salt

Makes about 3 cups

1. Grate chocolate tablets.

2. Place all ground spices in a saute pan over medium heat. Stirring frequently, toast spices until slightly darker and aromatic. Add chile powder and toast 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Remove spices from pan and set aside.

3. In small saucepan, toast cornmeal over medium heat until aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add milk or half-and-half and whisk to combine thoroughly.

4. Add all the rest of ingredients to the milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve in mugs.