Coconut Tres Leches Hot Chocolate: A Little "Slice" of Heaven

Want to have your tres leches cake and drink it, too? Well, you can with this coconutty version of tres leches hot chocolate!

If chocolate is the modern-day equivalent of Olympian ambrosia (and of course it is), then hot chocolate must be our nectar -- especially the variety known as tres leches hot chocolate. This Spanish-inspired version even includes coconut, for that taste of the tropical.

Warning: this drink may not be for you if you don't care much for coconut milk. But it's a remarkably tasty treat, if you're willing to try it.

Have Your Cake and Drink It, Too

Modern Central American cultures, having had exposure to chocolate for five hundred years and having inherited the much longer experience of the natives who cultivated it for millennia, know a thing or two about how to present chocolate.

For example, if you're a Constant Reader, you probably know the Aztecs drank chocolate with chili peppers for flavoring. Emperor Montezuma was said to have downed up to 50 pitchers of spicy-hot chocolate daily, because he thought it made him virile.

Our new version of hot chocolate presented here is one that takes on the best qualities of a beloved milk-soaked Mexican cake known as "tres leches," many varieties of which are also coconut-infused, which is why there's copious coconut milk in tres leches hot chocolate as well.

Cocoa Nut, Meet Coconut

It's an ironic accident of the English language that the fruit of the cacao (what we call the cocoa nut) sounds just like the name we give to the fruit of the palm, the coconut. Or maybe it's no accident; early European explorers may have thought the two were very much alike, and "cacao" is easily corrupted into "cocoa."

In any case, I think that the combination of the two ingredients is rather inspired. You've probably had candies and cakes containing both. Here's a very nice recipe for a drinkable version of tres leches cake that you should definitely try.

The Recipe Itself

This should make enough to serve several drinkers:

3 cups of milk
14 ounces of coconut milk
7 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
2 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder (I like it dark)
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
Whipped cream to taste

See the three milks up there, the "tres leches"? They're what give this treat its name. In a tres leches cake, the third leche would be regular whole milk soaked into the body of the cake. But that's a tale for another day.

Just mix everything except the whipped cream thoroughly in a large saucepan, then heat it up to just below boiling on the stovetop. Then pour it immediately into some big mugs, add a dab of whipped cream on top, et viola! The tres leches hot chocolate of your dreams is ready to drink.

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