Mexican Hot Chocolate S’mores are a perfect easy, delicious, unique dessert for your next Cinco de Mayo barbecue or camping trip.
Chocolate would seem impossible to improve upon, yet the addition of spices lends complexity and interest. A Mexican hot chocolate combines cinnamon and chili with the chocolate to produce a fruity, spicy, earthy mouthful. This s’more pays homage to the flavors of a Mexican hot chocolate, and is perfect for a Cinco de Mayo gathering. The country that is now Mexico probably produced the first chocolate consumed by humans as a spicy, bitter beverage. The Mexican hot chocolate may not be appealing during the warmer months, but this same flavor combination in s’more form is perfect for enjoying all summer.
Find this recipe, and many other campfire desserts in the family-fun cookbook, Elevated S’mores, available on Amazon.
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The Chili Chocolate Bars
My local stores carry three different varieties of chili chocolate that run $3-$4 for 3-4 ounces, so we tried them all. More expensive chocolate is not in my budget, but best eaten alone anyway. Many chocolate bars that contain chili also add cherries, so two versions of this s’more have the added chew of dried cherries. We found that the cherry flavor did not really come through in this application.
Though we enjoyed all three versions, they were surprisingly different. The Lindt chili bar is probably the most crowd-pleasing. The chili adds just a mild spicyness, and the thin, smooth bar melted better than the others. Sophisticated palates will enjoy the Endangered Species bar, Mr. Smith’s favorite. The spiciest of the three, it also had the most complex flavor, with a little kick-in-the-aftertaste. Keep a beverage handy while consuming this one. My favorite was the middle of the road choice, the Chocolove. This bar carries enough spicyness to stand up to all the cinnamon without demanding an encore, but the chocolate flavor still really comes through. I really enjoy even the plain Chocolove dark chocolate, so this one was my favorite.
The Cinnamon Marshmallows
Cinnamon marshmallows are really essential to this treat. My local stores carry a delicious cinnamon marshmallow from Smashmallow, and they are available to purchase online from many retailers. While this marshmallow is more expensive, it is truly delicious and requires the least work.
If you are using regular or vegan marshmallows, you can make your own cinnamon version by adding some cinnamon to the bag and giving it a shake. I tried using a cinnamon and sugar blend, but the sugar granules were too large to stick. Please post a comment if you figure out how to include a little sugar. The coated marshmallows will have a subtle cinnamon flavor. Best results are achieved with fresh, unsmashed marshmallows. The procedure is a total fail on dry or stuck together marshmallows. You can also just use plain marshmallows and rely on the chocolate and/or cookie to provide the cinnamon flavor.
A version of this s’more without the spicyness of the chili will probably appeal to some, especially children. I recommend keeping a few bars of plain milk chocolate or dark chocolate with cherries on hand. The resulting s’more still has the beautiful combination of chocolate and cinnamon.
Mexican Hot Chocolate S’mores
Check the elevated S’more up-to-date list of recommended ingredients and sources.
- One cinnamon graham cracker
- 2-4 squares of chili chocolate
- Two small (or one large) cinnamon marshmallows
Prep the cookie and chocolate first! This is the most important part of making s’mores, and will ensure the safety of your guests and family. Even the most coordinated adult should not wield a hot lance draped in molten sugar with one hand while trying to neatly snap apart cookies and chocolate with the other. Besides, your marshmallow will not have a chance to cool if the rest of the s’more is ready. I like to break the cookie into pieces just a little larger than the marshmallow, and fit as much chocolate as possible into a single layer on top of it.
Neatness tip: I place all of this in a cupcake liner or on a piece of foil to contain the mess. If you like those larger, double-graham-cracker-sized smores, try a 4″ coffee filter as a holder. In my experience, the s’more holders are especially appreciated by guests in nice clothing, who might otherwise deny themselves the pleasure of a s’more in order to preserve both their dignity and their wardrobe. The childlike delight s’mores often paint across the faces of adults make that little extra effort worthwhile.
Skewer the marshmallow(s) and toast via your favorite method to desired doneness. Coated marshmallows burn more readily than plain ones, so try to keep it out of direct flame. See my post on marshmallow roasting methods for detailed instructions
Place the marshmallow on top of the chocolate and place the top cookie over it. Grasp the whole sandwich via the top cookie and the bottom liner, squeeze slightly, and slide the skewer out of the marshmallow(s). If you can wait a minute or so, heat from the marshmallow will soften the chocolate. Enjoy as neatly or as messily as you like.
For all s’mores, milk and coffee are my top beverage pairings. They cut the sweetness and refresh the palate for the next bite. However, most Cinco de Mayo celebrations include beer. Mr. Smith likes a Modelo, Dos Equis, or Beerito with his spicy s’more. The lime in margaritas and some beers will clash with this dessert, so these are best enjoyed separately.
Scaling S’mores for Events
Shopping tips for larger groups, allows 2 s’mores per person:
Marshmallows: about 1 oz per person (approx. 4 marshmallows)
My preferred cinnamon marshmallows come in a 4 oz bag, while the standard grocery store bag is around 10 oz.
Chocolate bars: about 1 oz. per person
Chocolate chili bars are typically 3-4 oz. each. Plain milk chocolate bars that you find near the checkout stand in grocery stores are about 1.5 oz.
Cookies: 2-4 cookies per person.
Package sizes for cookies very widely among brands. Organic, gluten-free, and other more specialized products will probably come in much smaller packages. I used gluten-free cinnamon grahams that come in a roughly 8 oz. package. It contains enough cookies for about 12 smaller s’mores or 6 people. The package of graham crackers from the large, national brand is about twice that size.
So, for a group of about 25 people, I would buy 8 bags of specialty marshmallows, 8 bars of chili chocolate, and 5 boxes of specialty grahams. To substitute national brand items, I would get 3 bags of marshmallows, 20 bars of chocolate, and 2 packages of graham crackers.
Serving tips for larger groups:
Prepare a whole set of individual servings in baking cups with cookies and chocolate ahead of time. You can even skewer the marshmallows ahead if you plan to use bamboo skewers, though I generally prefer reusable long metal forks with sturdy non-conductive handles for safety.