Food Gift Series – Hot Chocolate on a Stick
Hot Chocolate on a Stick
Every year I like to make some kind of a food gift for friends and neighbors for Christmas. I am so excited about this year’s gift. I saw it on a blog last year towards the end of the season, and couldn’t wait to try it out this year. I was a little nervous about it, as anything on a stick seems so complicated at first. But I was pleasantly surprised. This could not be easier! And the final test came when I stirred it into some warm milk to see if it tasted as good as it looked. It does! It is so creamy and chocolaty and delicious. I can’t wait to give them out.
You can mix up the chocolate for this recipe in about 10 minutes. It is so simple. The hardest part is cutting the chocolate into squares, but even that is not difficult if you follow a few simple tips. Use a long, sharp knife, and be sure to heat it up with hot water (right out of the faucet), and wipe it off in between cuts. Also don’t skip the part where you line your pan with parchment paper. This enables you to lift the whole thing out of the pan and onto your cutting board. Slice off the uneven edges (perfect for nibbling to keep up your strength during the holiday craziness or make some hot chocolate for yourself). Then your squares will turn out smooth and perfect. I used an 8×8-inch pan and was able to get 16 squares out of it.
After you have all of the squares cut, wrap them in cellophane, tie with a pretty ribbon, stick them in a plastic baggy sealed tight, and put them in the refrigerator until needed. You could include some mini marshmallows with a few of the chocolate sticks in your gift package as well. The trick is going to be trying to keep them until I need them as gifts, and not eating them all myself. Good thing they are already tied up in cellophane. That has never stopped me before, though. What is a little cellophane when the urge for chocolate hits? I think I better make a few more batches of these. I hope you try it and have as much fun as I did. What kinds of food gifts do you like to make during the holidays?
Hot Chocolate on a Stick
1/2 c heavy cream
- 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
- 3 c semisweet chocolate chips (good quality such as Ghiradelli)
- 4 ounce good quality unsweetened baking chocolate bar, chopped into pieces about the size of chocolate chips
- 16 lollipop sticks, wooden sticks, or candy canes
- mini-marshmallows, optional
- Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper.
- Measure out the 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, and chop the unsweetened chocolate bar into small pieces. Pour both into a large heat proof bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the cream and sweetened condensed milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Heat until it is steaming, but not boiling, stirring constantly to keep it from scorching.
- Immediately pour hot cream mixture over the chocolate pieces. Do not stir. Let sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed.
- After 10 minutes, stir until mixture is thick and shiny. You can add a few drops of flavoring extract or oil at this point (I didn’t do this). Stir vigorously again to incorporate the flavoring (if used).
- Use a rubber or silicone spatula or spoon to spread out the mixture evenly in your prepared, parchment-lined pan. Allow to cool at room temperature 12 hours or overnight so that it firms slowly. After the chocolate mixture is no longer warm, cover pan with foil so it doesn’t dry out.
- After the pan has sat for at least 12 hours, take the chocolate from the pan by grabbing the parchment paper and lifting. When chocolate is removed, place large cutting board on top of chocolate and flip over carefully so that the square of chocolate is sitting on the middle of the cutting board. Remove parchment paper.
- Using a long, sharp knife heated with hot tap water and wiped dry between each cut (very important), cut the edges off of the square. Use for nibbling if desired. Then cut the rest of the square into 16 equal size pieces.
- Place a stick or candy cane into the middle of each piece of chocolate.
- Wrap each piece in cellophane or place in a clear candy bag. Wrap with a twist tie or ribbon.
- Place the squares into a large plastic baggy for storage, and place in the refrigerator. Take out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature (about an hour) before stirring into hot milk.
- Garnish hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows, if desired.
- If using as gifts, place several hot chocolate sticks in a box with a baggy of mini-marshmallows. Include a tag with directions for what to do with the hot chocolate sticks.