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Southwest Hot Chocolate

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in a magazine - on Valentine's Day we drank it from liqueur glasses and also added a half cup or so to the cappuccino that Jay made.

2 heaping Tablespoons dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 dried New Mexican red chile, stemmed, seeded, snipped or broken into several pieces
teaspoon ground ginger
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground cayenne
teaspoon salt

cup (4 Tablespoons) granulated sugar
Softly whipped cream

Spoon cocoa powder into a bowl; stir cream into the cocoa until the mixture is smooth.

Add milk, chiles, spices and salt and stir. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least four hours, for flavors to infuse.

To serve, pour mixture through strainer into a heavy saucepan or into a 1-quart glass measuring cup with pouring spout. Stir in sugar to taste. Heat chocolate over medium flame if using a saucepan, or in microwave for about 4 minutes on high power (I set the microwave for two minutes, then stir, then another minute and stir, then another minute and serve).

Serve in mugs topped with whipped cream its also good combined with your homemade cappuccino! Garnish with chocolate shavings or a sprinkle of cocoa powder.