Finding gifts for coworkers that are both enjoyable and workplace appropriate can be tricky at times, but if you want to thank your friends at the office for a job well done, you can never go wrong with sweet treats! Consider venturing beyond dull, traditional corporate gifts and offer some homemade Mexican hot chocolate, which many believe is the ideal version of this classic cold-weather beverage.
The Aztecs native to the Mexican region revered chocolate so much they used it as a form of currency, according to Gourmet Sleuth. The culture made several types of chocolate drinks, pairing the ingredient with honey, spices, seeds and nuts.
"They thought of it like we think of black coffee," Chicago chef Rick Bayless told CBS News. "Sometimes they would even add chilies or herbs to it."
Phillip Ward, the owner of Mayahuel - a bar in downtown Manhattan, shared his recipe for Mexican hot chocolate with the news source.
1 gallon whole milk
1/2 ounce chile de arbol (tree chili)
24.5 ounces Mexican chocolate
1 ounce Grand Marnier (optional)
1 quart whipped cream
Heat the milk, chili and chocolate on the stove for about one hour until the chocolate dissolves. Blend in a mixture of 1 ounce Grand Marnier to 1 quart whipped cream and you're done! For visual effect, top the beverage with whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate and some shaved cinnamon.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
You can take your coworkers' treat to the next level by pairing this toasty drink with a batch of cookies inspired by the tasty blend of nuts and chocolate.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup of caramel (or frosting if you prefer)
Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, chopped walnuts and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar until fully mixed. Gradually beat eggs into the mixture. Slowly pour the first bowl including the flour into the second bowl of butter, sugar and eggs. Use a tablespoon to form balls of dough. Place on baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. You'll know they're ready when the cookies begin to crack. Take a spoonful of the caramel and spread it between two cookies to make a mini-cookie sandwich. Then eat and enjoy!