- 6 cups whole milk or your favorite plant-based milk
- 1/4 – 1/2 hulled barley (not pearl barley)
- 3 – 6 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
- 6 – 8 ounces, excellent quality, semi-sweet chocolate (60% cacao), chopped
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (or the beans scrapped from one vanilla pod)
- 2 cinnamon sticks (more for garnish)
- 2 – 4 teaspoons fresh ground cinnamon
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon fresh ground cloves
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- In a medium size, dry pan, toast the barley over medium heat until browned and aromatic (approximately 3-5 minutes).
- Using a coffee or spice grinder, grind the toasted barley until it resembles the texture of flour.
- In a small bowl, add the toasted barley flour, sifted muscovado sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, espresso powder and pinch of sea salt. Mix to combine
- In a medium/large pot, add the milk and the cinnamon sticks. Heat over medium/high heat, bring to a light boil, whisking frequently to avoid scorching the milk on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium/low and remove the pot from the heat while you add the additional ingredients to the pot.
- Add the chopped chocolate and stir until dissolve, then add the toasted barley and spice mixture and return to the heat.
- Continue to cook the hot chocolate over medium/low heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens (approximately 5 minutes). Remove the cinnamon sticks and add the vanilla. Stir to combine.
- If you like a grainer texture (like myself), serve immediately. For a smoother texture, use a regular or immersion blender to blend until smooth, being careful not to burn yourself.
- Pour the Hot Chocolate Machica into mugs and serve as is or with optional garnishes, such as a light sprinkle of orange zest and/or, ground cinnamon or chocolate shavings.
- The consistency of Hot Chocolate Machica will continue to thicken as the barley absorbs the moisture and the chocolate sets as it cools. I recommend serving it with a spoon or stirrer to preserve the silken quality of the drink.
Hot Chocolate Machica ranges from a thick pudding like consistency to a more liquid consistency. The spice level and sweetness can vary as well. To find your happy place, I recommend you follow this recipe, start with conservative amounts of the ingredients, then add more/adjust according to your preferences.
Store leftovers in a heat proof, airtight container (I recommend a Mason or Ball jar) in the refrigerator. The Hot Chocolate Machica will become thicker and pudding like as it sits. Enjoy it as is (up to 3 days) or reheat it, by adding a little extra milk and warm via stove top or microwave.