We want to emphasize that this is REALLY sweet – it has way more sugar than you would find in most modern hot chocolate. You can drink it if you want, but we included it mostly for historical interest.
We translated the recipe for hot chocolate from the 1630s into something you can make at home. The egg yolk is optional even in the original recipe. If you don’t have access to yard eggs, we recommend that you omit the yolk—it will still be a tasty plant-based rendition of an antique hot chocolate. You may also wish to omit the yolk if you’re very young, very old, have a compromised immune system, or don’t eat animal products. In the 1630s, sugar was for the gentry, so this recipe has a lot of sugar. It’s very sweet.
Makes about 2 pints
Takes 20 minutes
4 cups clean water
1/4 cup grated baking chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
One fresh egg yolk (optional)
Fresh white bread or biscuits (optional)
First, you’ll need access to clean water, which may be a little easier today than it was in 17th century Europe. We initially assumed the “Conduit Water” that the recipe calls for would have come from an aqueduct, but it turns out the term actually refers to spring water! For most of you, clean municipal tap water is an adequate substitute.
Next, boil your water. If it’s an option, boil your water in a covered pot over an open fire. If you don’t have access to an open fire, any method will do. In a small pot, whisk together the boiling water, grated baking chocolate and the sugar. Use a molinillo if you have one, otherwise, a common whisk or a fork will do. (Molinillos are traditional Mexican chocolate stirrers.)
This recipe comes from the 1630s, so when it calls for a fresh egg, we mean that if you don’t have a hen, find a friend who raises chickens. Then invite yourself over to make them antique hot chocolate, and schedule your date for the time of day when there is usually an egg still hot from the hen. If your egg has been refrigerated, let the yolk sit out at room temperature for a while so it froths easier. Beat the egg yolk until it’s very frothy, then add it to the beverage.
Pour the cocoa into a couple of mugs. Serve frothy and very hot with bread or biscuits.