Garnish mugs with whipped cream and shaved chocolate if you like. Romney Steele, author of Plum Gorgeous, created the recipe.
1 1/2 qts. regular or low-fat milk
1 pt. half-and-half
12 in. Mexican or regular cinnamon sticks, broken into large pieces
2 dried chiles de árbol or other small dried chiles, torn into pieces
Zest of 1/2 orange, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
4 tablets (about 12 oz.) Mexican chocolate such as Ibarra, coarsely chopped
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
How to Make It
Combine milk, half-and-half, cinnamon, chiles, zest, and chocolate in a medium pot. Scrape vanilla seeds from pods with side of a knife and add seeds and pods to pan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring often; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep about 15 minutes. Strain hot chocolate into a bowl, then return to pot.
Heat to steaming over medium heat, stirring. Whirl in a blender in 3 batches until frothy and pour into a pitcher or mugs. Garnish with shaved chocolate if you like.