The Vintage Kitchen

Iced or Hot Peruvian Chocolate

Three cups on saucers. Each cup is filled with dark hot cocoa and is topped with whipped cream.
Hot Peruvian chocolate from a 1920s recipe.

This chocolate drink recipe says it comes from the land where chocolate is taken seriously. Much more seriously than it is in the United States. Is this really a Peruvian 1920s recipe? I have no idea, but it tastes different from any other chocolate I’ve ever had. The 1920s article said this Peruvian chocolate is good iced or hot. And it is.

Two glasses of chocolate milk on an embroidered cloth. From recipe for Peruvian chocolate.
Not as sweet when cold, but definitely just as rich: Iced Peruvian Chocolate.

This Peruvian chocolate tastes like something between a normal hot cocoa recipe like you’ll find here, and the thick drinking chocolate that you find in cafés. This is a drink to savor. It’s not too sweet. Enjoy this one with a friend or friends and some good conversation.

A half-full canning jar sits on a counter, holding coffee. Leaning against it is a box of Baker's baking chocolate. For Peruvian chocolate recipe.
Chocolate and coffee combine to make a rich drink.

Thick drinking chocolate can be difficult to make. This recipe is relatively easy, and it makes four 1-cup servings. You can easily cut the serving size to 3/4 cup and serve five. The servings look small until you taste it.

You might want to serve a glass of water along with this cocoa, especially if you are serving anything with it, such as dessert. Too rich to drink quickly, guests might appreciate another drink option on the table besides this chocolate.

Pan of melted chocolate with sugar sprinkled over the top, part of a recipe for Peruvian chocolate.
Step 1. Melt the chocolate over hot water and stir in sugar and vanilla.

This drink requires a lot of chocolate, four ounces to be exact. It needs an entire box of Baker’s choclate from the grocery store baking aisle. You can substitute four ounces of any chcolate that you wish. The better quality of chocolate you use, the better the drink will be.

Smooth liquid chocolate mixed with coffee. Making Peruvian chocolate.
Step 2: Chocolate and sugar mixed with the coffee. Ready for the milk.

You will need:

  • 4 ounces chocolate, unsweetened or semi-sweet
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sweetened whipped cream, optional

If you have all this in stock, the recipe is straighforward and easy. Using a double boiler makes the recipe almost fool-proof, since you can’t easily burn the chocolate when it heats over water.

Using coffee makes this an “adult drink.” If you make this for children, substitute 1/2 cup water for the coffee and increase the milk to four cups. (Don’t worry; this variation is included in the printable recipe below.) Iced or hot, this Peruvian Hot Chocolate is a keeper.

Iced or Hot Peruvian Chocolate

This rich, not-too-sweet 1920s chocolate recipe falls somewhere between hot cocoa and French drinking chocolate.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American


  • Double boiler
  • Whisk or egg beater
  • Additional large saucepan


  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate I used Baker's unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened whipped cream

For Iced Peruvian Chocolate

  • 1 ice cube per serving


  • Scald the milk in a large saucepan and set aside.
  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or in a heatproof pan over hot water). If unsweetened chocolate is used, add the sugar and vanilla.
  • Add the coffee and continue to cook over hot water until thick and smooth. Cook until steam rises from the mixture. If you use hot coffee, and the mixture comes to a boil, boil for one minute. Stir constantly.
  • Add the scalded milk to the chocolate mixture and whip to a froth with an egg beater.
  • Cook in double boiler over hot water for ten minutes. Whip again with the beater.
  • Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

For Iced Peruvian Chocolate

  • Chill. Then shake each serving with a piece of ice before serving.

For Children's Peruvian Chocolate

  • Substitute 1/2 cup water for the coffee, and increase milk to 4 cups. Serve warm or iced.


This recipe makes four cups, to serve four. It is so rich, however, that serving 3/4 cup to five people works well too.
The Vintage Kitchen

Take a Break from Coffee – Try Breakfast Cocoa!

Cup of hot cocoa and plate of toast on 1950s melamine dishes.
All dressed up in retro dishes, this Breakfast Cocoa is some of the best in vintage recipes.

On a crisp cool morning in autumn or winter, this breakfast cocoa recipe will fire your tastebuds and sweeten your day. It first appeared in print 100 years ago. Many hundred year old recipes deserve to be forgotten. This is not one of them. 

Frankly, I was surprised at how tasty this hot cocoa is. I expected it to be slightly bitter, and instead it has a nice smooth, slightly sweet taste. The entire recipe only uses 3 tablespoons of sugar for four servings, very much in line with a 1920s recipe. While it’s not bitter, this is not a cup of prepackaged Swiss Miss Cocoa with marshmallows. You can taste the chocolate in this great morning pick-me-up, and it contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee. 

Into the Vintage Time Machine

So how and why did this recipe come about in the first place? Let’s take a peek into the Vintage Time Machine…

The year is 1920. Adults usually drink only coffee or tea with breakfast. Milk is for children. Both coffee and tea are served with just a dash of milk or cream, enough to change the color of the hot liquid. Also, it ensures that the very hot beverage doesn’t break the china cups. 

Portions are small for everything. An eight-inch cake serves ten, a nine-inch cake serves twelve. Four cups of liquid serve four to six people, whether in soup or beverage form. 

A cursory look through any list of recipes will show that coffee is the accepted drink for both breakfast and dinner. Sometimes, that coffee is substituted with tea. Often, tea made its star appearance as part of a luncheon or afternoon tea party or front porch gathering with friends. 

Back to The Recipe

One household magazine suggested hot cocoa as a change of pace in the morning. For one thing, when mixed with milk it provided added nutrition. In addition, the denizens of the Twenties knew that cocoa itself contained nutrients. Potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium are only a few of the useful minerals in a cup of hot cocoa. It also contains a little caffeine, that happy drug that lures most of us into the kitchen in the mornings. One cup of hot cocoa provides 9 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. of drink. Hardly the 95 mg of caffeine you get from one cup of black coffee, but better than none. 

One huge benefit of cooking with old recipes is that they teach you cooking methods long forgotten by the everyday cook. Have you ever tried to combine cocoa powder and water (or another liquid) and watched it clump maddeningly while you stir with ferocity? No? Just me? 

I found out by making this recipe that if you stir hot water into cocoa powder, it doesn’t clump. It doesn’t even think about clumping. It dissolves into the water smoothly. 

Another trick of this recipe is to boil the cocoa powder with water and sugar for five minutes before adding warmed milk to it. This thickens the mixture a bit and combines it so that you don’t experience as much grainy chocolate at the bottom of your cup. 

Now, if you make this on the stove and then walk away from it for an hour or more, it separates. It then needs to be stirred together again before pouring into cups. (It will also need to be reheated if forgotten for that long.)

You Will Need

To make this recipe you need:

  • cocoa powder
  • sugar
  • boiling water
  • milk (I used whole dairy milk, but you can use whatever milk or milk substitute you feel comfortable using.)
  • a whisk or old-fashioned egg beaters, or even an immersion (stick) blender
  • two saucepans – one to heat the milk and a larger one for the cocoa/water mixture.

And now, the recipe:

Breakfast Cocoa

Make this when you want a break from coffee or tea in the morning, but still want something warm to drink. This recipe from 1920 is easy to make and delicious!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, cocoa, hot
Servings: 4
Author: VintageJenny


  • small saucepan to hold three cups
  • medium saucepan to hold four cups
  • wire whisk or egg beater (or immersion blender)
  • measuring spoons
  • heatproof measuring cup
  • kettle for heating water to boil


  • 3 cups milk Any milk or milk substitute (like soy or almond) should work.
  • 1 cup water, boiling
  • 3 tbsp powdered cocoa
  • 3 tbsp sugar


  • Place milk into small saucepan and bring to scalding. When scalding milk, it does not come to a boil. You will see a ring of little bubbles around the edge of the pan and some steam may rise from the heating milk. Once you scald it, turn it off.
  • Bring water to a boil, if you haven't already. Then carefully measure out 1 cup into a heat-proof container.
  • Place cocoa powder into larger saucepan.
  • Slowly add the water to the cocoa. Stir as you add, until it is very smooth. Then add the sugar.
  • Heat the cocoa mixture to the boiling point, and let boil for five minutes. Stir every now and then so that nothing sticks.
  • When the five minutes is up, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Add the scalded milk to the cocoa, water, and sugar. Beat the mixture with a whisk or with the egg beater for two minutes. This will make your hot cocoa frothy. A quick zap with an immersion or stick blender will do the same thing.
  • Pour your creation into four small mugs or teacups, and enjoy.

That’s all there is to it! Now that we tried it, this recipe definitely becomes part of our breakfast rotation — and it may become the starring drink at an afternoon tea.