We asked Shelley Torgove, a clinical herbalist and the owner of Artemisia & Rue on Broadway, to provide some enticing (ahem) treats for Valentine's Day. The following recipe for Hottie Chocolate combines kitchen alchemy and herbs traditionally used to promote passion. (For more inventive and enticing ideas, check out Botanica Erotica by Diana De Luca.)
2 1/2 cups milk of choice
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cinnamon stick (about 3-4 inches long)
1 small red chile pepper, seeds removed (chili powder can be substituted)
1 pinch of cayenne
Simmer milk in a saucepan with vanilla bean, cinnamon, and chile. Heat thoroughly for about one minute. Whisk in grated Askinosie or Ritual Chocolate and continue to simmer until melted. Remove from heat. Add pinch of cayenne. Strain, pour, top with whipped cream. Enjoy.
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