|Spanish Hot Chocolate
(From 17th century Spain)
Combine 1 quart milk; 1/4 oz dried rosebuds; 1/2 tsp. saffron threads, lightly crushed; 2 sticks cinnamon; 1 whole arbol or pequin chilis (optional); 1 small vanilla bean, split lengthwise; and 1/4 cup sugar in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Scald milk, stirring to dissolve sugar, then lower heat and cook for 10 minutes. Strain into another pot. Heat gently and add 1/4 lb bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped. Whisk briskly for 5 minutes to dissolve chocolate and make a frothy head. Serves 4.