Hosting the Holidays

Mexican Hot Cocoa and Puff Pastry Cinnamon Sticks

These puff pastry cinnamon sticks are super-simple and the perfect complement to homemade hot chocolate. To make the Mexican hot cocoa in a traditional way, consider investing in a handy milk-frothing tool called a molinillo.

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Ingredients

For the hot cocoa:
2 cups milk
1 round (6 segments) Mexican chocolate
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
whipped cream, for serving
crushed chile peppers, for serving

For the cinnamon twists:
1 sheet puff pastry dough
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
zest of 1/2 an orange

Directions

For the hot cocoa:
Place the milk, chocolate, salt, ground chili and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seed from the inside of the vanilla bean half; add to milk mixture. Cook over medium heat until warmed and the chocolate is completely melted. Use the molinillo by quickly rolling back and forth between your palms until you get a thick frothy layer. Pour into two cups. Top with whipped cream and a bit of crushed chile peppers, if desired. Serve warm.

For the cinnamon sticks:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sugar, cinnamon and orange zest in a small bowl and mix well. Spread the pastry dough out on a lightly-floured surface. Brush entire pastry surface with about half the melted butter.

Sprinkle on half the cinnamon sugar. Flip pastry over and repeat butter and cinnamon sugar process. Cut pastry in thin strips about 1 cm wide. Grabbing ends in each hand twist gently in opposite directions. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until golden brown (about 20 min). Remove and allow to cool completely before serving.

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