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Mexican Hot Chocolate disks - melt them & make them better!

Posted on December 01 2016

Mexican hot chocolate disks are rock hard chocolate disks used to make drinking chocolate. The disks are made up of cacao, sugar, and spices and can be found in every Latin grocery store or in every Mexican, Colombian, and Guatemalan home in America. The popular brands are Abuelita, Ibarra, Mayordomo, La Soledad, Luker, and Sol. For an overview of what is and how to make Mexican hot chocolate from scratch, please visit my post here.

This post is purely dedicated to melting these disks and making them better. Also, Mexican hot chocolate is the most popular term for this style of chocolate but in Colombia, they don't call it Mexican hot chocolate :) instead, they just call it chocolate. 

 Abuelita mexican hot chocolate

Mexican hot chocolate is a delicious traditional drink but I have always had a problem with the shape, size, and how quickly it looks "old". This reshaping and remelting solves this problem. By reshaping the disks you can create cute, fun, and amazing shapes that also serve as single servings and make great gifts. 

ibarra abuelita mexican hot chocolate

I understand why the big companies don’t make single serving sizes; it’s a tradition. You are not supposed to drink chocolate alone. Since the time of the Aztecs, chocolate was meant to be drunk at festivals, rituals, weddings, and funerals. It’s a communal thing. In Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language, there is a word that means to drink chocolate together: xocola’j. There is no word for ‘I am drinking chocolate alone.’

Current day, you can travel to remote indigenous villages from Mexico to Colombia and you will find some form of these disks, balls, or sticks. They are the classic shape for this style of drinking chocolate. 

Mexican hot chocolate oaxaca mercado

But sometimes you want a single serving or you want to impress your guests and this is the way to do it. I know the big companies started to make Mexican hot chocolate mixes, powders, and syrups to make life easier. But those have a lot of added things that you don't need. Stick to the disks/blocks/balls. ibarra abuelita mexican hot chocolate

At first I was on a mission to make single servings. But then I discovered a whole new world of amazing shapes. Drinking chocolate was much more pleasurable when the chocolate was attractive. 

Step one would be to find some of these disks or blocks. If you are Mexican or Colombian I am 100% positive you already have some old chocolate in your kitchen. Soledad and Mayordomo are great Mexican brands and Casa Luker is a dependable Colombian brand. Casa Luker makes a 100% cacao bar, which means that you have full control of your flavors if you choose to add any. Or make your own from sratch: Mexican Chocolate Recipe.  

To mold your chocolate you can use plastic, metal, or wooden molds, or the best tool, your hands. 

Does Mexican chocolate go bad? No. It will turn white/grayish which makes people think it's old or bad but this is completely normal for chocolate and is only the sugar or cocoa butter coming to the surface. It will not affect flavor. If sealed tightly, it will stay edible forever. But it does absorb odors easily so keep away from strong smells. 

These disks below are brand new disks that I made but you can see they have a whitish coloring. This is normal with all chocolates, it just means I did not temper it correctly. For these disks it is not a big problem, you can still save them or give them away like this. Since these will be melted into milk or water and then blended, the tempering of the disks is not necessary. Tempering is the process that you have to do if you want the chocolate to be shiny. But if I want to use plastic molds, tempering correctly is mandatory or the chocolate will not release from the plastic molds. 

mexican hot chocolate disks ibarra abuelita

Mexican hot chocolate disks will always be grainy, it is mostly the sugar crystals. It will all melt when you make the drink and blend with your milk or water. 

The steps are fairly simple- melt 75% of your chocolate over steam, remove from steam, add the remainder 25% of your chocolate, stir until melted. Follow this order for molding: first mold in plastic molds, then cookie cutters, and finally with your hands. For molds you need it fairly fluid and for hand molding you need it cooler/harder. Place everything in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden. 

mexican hot chocolate remelted

mexican hot chocolate abuelita ibarra

mexican hot chocolate ibarra abuelita mexican hot chocolate cookie cutter

mexican hot chocolate cookie cutter

mexican hot chocolate hand molding

mexican hot chocolate hand molding

mexican hot chocolate cacao  mold

mexican hot chocolate metates

mexican hot chocolate

mexican hot chocolate calaveras

This Virgen de Guadalupe will make enough drinking chocolate for 15 people. 

mexican hot chocolate virgin de guadalupe


Reshaping Mexican Hot Chocolate disks/bars 

1 package of disks/bars (usually 5 disks per package)

  1. Easiest brands to find: Abuelita, Ibarra, Montezuma
  2. Best quality brands: Mayordomo, Soledad, Luker, Sol

Optional- Any flavors you might want to add: ground coffee, instant coffee, ground cinnamon, ground spices, ground almonds/nuts, orange zest, etc. It has to be dry, nothing liquid. Liquids might make it difficult to re-mold. There is no specific quantity, add as much as you want, taste as you add.

  1. Melt 3 disks in a bowl over water bath or in microwave. Chocolate burns quickly so be very slow and careful during this process. Burnt chocolate cannot be salvaged. :( You can also chop this into pieces to facilitate melting. 
  2. Add your flavors if using.
  3. If you have a thermometer heat to 115f (45c). If you don’t have a thermometer, heat until it feels uncomfortable when you put some on your wrist. But it shouldn’t burn you. Only be very hot.
  4. Once you have melted them, remove from heat; add the remainder two disks to help cool it down. The idea is to melt 75% of your chocolate and have an extra 25% or so to cool it down. This process is very important if you are going to put your chocolate into plastic molds, this process will help release them.
  5. Stir the mix until the additional disks melt and cool the chocolate. The mix will begin to get thick but still be easy to move. If your mix begins to harden and the additional disks are not melting, you did not heat enough in the beginning. Remove the disks and heat the original 3 disks again. Then remove from heat and add the 2 disks again.
  6. Using plastic molds: Once it has melted and cooled (cooled to less than 90f), use a piping bag or spoon to fill your molds. Tap the molds on a flat surface to help remove air bubbles and even out. Immediately place in the refrigerator.
  7. Using a knife to cut shapes: Pour the mix onto a flat pan with a border, that his been lined with parchment paper. Even it out and let it get medium hard, then use a knife to cut into shapes. If you let it harden before cutting, it might break. If you cut while it is too liquid, it won’t keep the shape.
  8. Using cookies cutters. Using this mix with cookie cutters requires the mix to cool more, under 80f or so. Enough for you to be able to handle it with your hands without it sticking. Put the cookie cutter on a plastic surface and fill the cookie cutter with a bit of the mix. Use your hands or spoon to fill the cookie cutter. As soon as you see that it has set, less than 1 minute, remove the cookie cutter. The chocolate should keep its shape. If it doesn’t, wait a bit more. If you wait too long, it will not come out. Refrigerate immediately.
  9. Using your hands: Allow the mix to cool but not harden, once it begins to get hard it will be difficult to hand mold, the mix will begin to break instead of keeping its shape. Grab a small amount and try to roll into a ball to test. It should be very easy to roll into balls or pat into disks. If you mare making disks, remember to score them with a knife to make them easier to cut later. Refrigerate.
  10. All of these should harden within 20 minutes. Remove from fridge and store or wrap.They will keep forever in a dry, dark, cool space. They might turn grey or white but this is normal. It's only the sugar and cocoa butter coming to the surface. It will not affect the flavor of your chocolate. 

To make the drink all you need to do is heat milk or water, add some of the chocolate to the pot and when you see it starting to boil, remove and pour into a blender. Blend until the chocolate is fully melted and incorporated into the liquid. I can't give you an exact recipe to follow because I don't know if your chocolate has sugar.

Abuelita and Ibarra are 2 triangles per 1 cup of water/milk. So when you reshape just try to remember how many triangles went into each shape. 

This is the recipe that I use for my drinking chocolate.
30 grams of Mexican hot chocolate (already has sugar (15g) and cinnamon (4g))
1 cup of whole milk or coconut milk


Sometimes I try:
1 cup of whole milk or coconut milk
15g of cacao
15g piloncillo/rapadura/panela
4g ceylon cinammon


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