This historic hot chocolate comes from the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Hot chocolate is a traditional drink at a brit milah (bris) in Curaçao, complemented by sponge cookies called panlevi.
Learn more about the history of Jews and chocolate here!
Curaçao Hot Chocolate
- 14½ ounces (410 grams) evaporated milk
- 3½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra (optional) to serve
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (or to taste)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 medium egg
- Place all the ingredients, except the egg, in a saucepan. Fill the empty evaporated milk can with water and add this to the pan. Mix well and bring gently to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat and cool to drinking temperature.
- Beat the egg well, then add to the cocoa mixture, stirring to combine.
- Pour into serving mugs/cups and serve immediately with an extra sprinkle of cocoa powder on top, if you like.
This is one of the most ancient, but also one of the most popular, recipes of the Curaçao Sephardim. Traditionally baked for all holidays and other festive occasions, these crisp sponge cookies are often sent to relatives and the sick, and they are essential served with Curaçao hot chocolate.
For a stronger flavor, double the amount of ground cinnamon and vanilla extract in the recipe.
- Vegetable oil, for greasing
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- ½ cup (3½ ounces or 100 grams) granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (3½ ounces or 100 grams) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two large baking sheets.
- Put the eggs, sugar, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl and beat together well, either by hand or using an electric handheld mixer, then stir in the vanilla. Fold in the flour and baking powder by hand to make a smooth batter.
- Drop tablespoonfuls of the cookie batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and loosen the cookies from the baking sheets using a palette knife. Turn the oven off, then return the cookies to the oven to crisp up. Once crisp, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Serve with Curaçao hot chocolate (see recipe above).
- Store the panlevi in an airtight container at room temperature; they should keep for a few days.
Want more? Try this recipe for molten brigadeiro cakes!
Excerpted from “Babka, Boulou & Blintzes: Jewish Chocolate Recipes from Around the World” by Michael Leventhal. Reprinted with permission.