I don’t know about anywhere else, but it’s absolutely freezing in the UK. It’s been snowing for the third time this season – very unusual, considering it rarely snows in this country anymore. People are talking about the possibility of a White Christmas for the first time in years. And what better way to warm up in cold weather than with a steaming, slightly spicy mug of hot chocolate? Come to think of it, this is my first chocolate recipe on this site. As I love top quality gourmet chocolate, I can’t help wondering: what took me so long?

Here I am giving an express version of Champurrado – Mexican hot chocolate drink that is traditionally made with masa (tortilla dough). It’s served during fiestas, accompanied by tamales (savoury tortilla dough pasties). You can, of course, also serve it with sweet pastries or confectionery. Moreover, its rich, indulgent taste makes it ideal as an afternoon or bedtime drink. Serves 4.

1 pint/ 550 ml full-fat milk
2 heaped tablespoons good-quality dark chocolate, finely grated
2 level tablespoons cornmeal
4 teaspoons light golden brown sugar
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
Small pinch ground cloves
Small pinch mild red chilli powder

Optional garnish:
Chocolate flakes

1. Whisk all the ingredients together and cook in a non-stick milk pan on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Alternatively, cook in a double-boiler: pour all the ingredients in a bowl and cook over a saucepan of simmering water for half hour. The drink should be quite thick, with the consistency of custard.
2. Pour into cups, top with cream and chocolate flakes if desired, and serve hot.