Mexican Hot Chocolate Filling
Based on the ingredients found in Mexican hot chocolate, this super chocolatey, almond butter-based filling is spiced with cinnamon and just a hint of ancho chili pepper, which lends a touch of fruity, smoky spice. The filling is great in hamantashen or other filled cookies or, when warmed slightly in the microwave, can be spread on toast.
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), roughly chopped
- 1 whole ancho chile
- 1½ cups (1 16-ounce jar) almond butter
- 3½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, preferably Ceylon
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- ¼ teaspoon instant espresso powder, optional
- Put 1½ cups of the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 10-second increments, stirring between each interval, until mostly melted. Take care not to burn the chocolate, and remember that as you stir, it will finish melting. Set the chocolate aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, warm a small skillet over medium high heat—don’t add oil; you’re dry-toasting. Toast the ancho, turning every 30 seconds or so with tongs, until it is warmed and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet, cut off and discard the stem and crack open the ancho with your fingers. Remove and discard the seeds, then pulse the ancho in a small food processor fitted with a steel blade until it is ground into flakes. Be careful not to grind it into a powder, you want to the pepper to retain some texture.
- Scrape the almond butter into a medium mixing bowl, then stir in the melted chocolate, the remaining ½ cup chopped chocolate, ancho flakes, cinnamon, almonds and espresso powder, if using (I think it deepens the flavor of the chocolate, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have it on hand).
- Use the filling in your favorite hamantashen recipe, or try it in rugelach or on toast. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the refrigerator for up to a month. The filling will solidify after a few hours, so soften it up in the microwave if need be.