Hot Maya Chocolate with Squash Butternut


The Mayan people of southern Mexico originally developed chocolate. Rancho La Puerto, a wellness destination located in Baja, California, gives this authentic Mexican drink a healthy and unexpected twist with a secret ingredient: butternut squash!

Chef Denise Roa remarks, “While our Mexican hot chocolate recipe may taste like dessert in a cup, dark chocolate in small quantities actually offers real health benefits. Plus, the addition of the butternut squash in place of heavy cream, or an excessive amount of milk, gives an added dose of vegetables and nutrients. Kids love this recipe, too, and hardly ever notice that vegetables have been hidden in their chocolate.”

Makes 4 cups


1 cup cooked butternut squash pulp

3 ½ cups milk

3 ounces Ibarra brand Mexican chocolate

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped


½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

â…› teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1. In a blender, puree the squash with 1 ¾ cups of the milk until perfectly smooth.

2. In a large saucepan, mix the remaining 1 ¾ cups of milk, chocolate, and spices. With a whisk, stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted, then add the pureed squash. Do not boil. Strain the mixture through a coarse sieve to remove any trace of the squash fiber.

3. Reheat gently in a heavy saucepan. Serve in little demitasse cups, with a crisp cookie for dipping.


Rancho La Puerta is one of the World’s Best Wellness Resorts featured in USA TODAY. Located in Baja, California, the property spans over 3,000 acres of mountains and meadows and features La Cocina Que Canta, or “The Kitchen That Sings.” Guests pick ingredients from the property’s organic farm and enjoy the camaraderie of working side-by-side with top chef instructors and fellow guests while learning culinary techniques.