Saturday, December 3, 2011

Perfect Presents: Hot Chocolate On A Stick!!

Oh dear, the minute I saw this amazing, homemade hot chocolate on a stick recipe from the Giver's Log, I literally squealed in delight.  What a wonderful little DIY project for you to pull together fast & fabulously for all of your co-workers, mommy friends, or whomever you need tiny, thoughtful presents for.

And this is so ridiculously simple to do and makes me so happy, that even though it is way too late, I am going to go ahead and make a free printable tag for you.  Because after bearing with me through my absence the last couple of days (due to a fun week of family in town and a day of internet woes), you deserve it!

First things first, the recipe . . .

Yield: 10 cubes of hot chocolate (ice-cube-tray size)
(use 1 oz. hot chocolate on a stick per every 1 cup milk or cream)

~ Ziplock bags or piping bags
~ A double boiler or pan with a glass bowl that can sit over the simmering water
~ Some kind of chocolate mold, ice cube trays work great
~ Stir sticks or a bag of wooden craft sticks (available at any craft store)

~ 8 oz. chocolate,  bittersweet, semisweet, milk, and white chocolate all work
~ 1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
~ 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
~ pinch of salt
~ 6 cups milk and 2 cups heavy cream if you plan to enjoy these right away

1.) If your chocolate is in a block, chop it into even-sized meltable pieces. Simmer a couple inches of water in a pan, then turn down the heat so the water is below a simmer.  Place glass or stainless steel bowl over the top to make a double boiler. If the bowl touches the water it’s alright, as long as your water is mildly warm, not hot. Dump chocolate into the clean, dry bowl and stir as the chocolate melts. (If you are patient and let those chunks melt slowly, keeping them from getting over 90 degrees F or 88 degrees F for milk and white chocolate, the chocolate will stay “in temper” and will still be nice and pretty when it cools.)

2.) Once the chocolate is 2/3 melted, with just some pieces of the chocolate unmelted, remove the bowl from the pan, dry the bottom with a towel and continue stirring until chocolate is fully melted. This is just one more step to keep the chocolate from getting too hot.

3.) Add cocoa, sugar, and salt and continue to stir until combined. The chocolate will be thicker, as thick as frosting, but stir on. If it looks and feels grainy it’s possible you’ve accidentally gotten a drop of water in the mixture. If it has gotten water in it and has seized up, it will still taste alright, it just won’t be as pretty or smooth or melt quite as fast.

4.) Scoop chocolate into a ziplock bag and clip off the corner.  Pipe the chocolate into your chocolate mold (ice cube trays), tapping the mold on the counter to make sure all the chocolate settles into the mold. Add a stir stick and you’re done. The stir stick should stay upright without any trouble.

*If the chocolate bursts through the ziploc/piping bag in places you don’t want it to, just put the whole thing in another bag. If the chocolate starts to get too thick to squeeze, just put the whole thing in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or so at half power.  Let the chocolate cool either at room temperature or in the fridge if you’re in a hurry.  The chocolate pops out of the mold nicely if it’s been in the fridge. It’s okay to cool chocolate in the fridge, just don’t store it there, because chocolate soaks up the odors of other foods pretty quickly.

**If you don’t like the look of the chocolate once it is removed from the mold, you can dip the cubes into a new batch of plain melted chocolate for a shinier finish (again, try to keep chocolate from heating over 90 degrees, or use candy melts, which don’t need to be in temper, they will stay shiny and pretty even if you go above 90 degrees). This also lets you add sprinkles or crushed candy or just lets you dip in fun patterns. I like dipping at an angle into a different color of chocolate.  In order to enjoy these, heat up any combo of milk, water, half and half, or cream. I like 6 cups milk with 2 cups heavy cream. One ounce of chocolate on a stick should be melted into one cup milk or cream. So a standard ice cube-tray block, which is 3/4 an ounce, should be melted into a mug with 3/4 cup milk or cream in it.

Troubleshooting:  If the chocolate begins to seize, you do not have to throw it out. Just put the bowl back over the hot water and add a little bit of vegetable oil (between a tsp and a tbsp) after stirring over a little heat, the chocolate will get smooth again. Also good to note, chocolate can seize if you add any cold ingredients.”

How to store it: Dark chocolate will keep in an airtight container for up to a year, milk and white chocolate for several months. Remember, don’t keep it in the fridge because it is really good at absorbing odors.

Then wrap it up if you like . . .

And your free printable tag, of course . . .

You can download the page of multiples here:

Hot Chocolate Multiple

Just use a 2" craft circle or scallop punch or cut out the square by hand and tie around your cello bag with the hot cocoa on a stick inside!  Don't forget to leave a cube out for yourself though; a nice, toasty mug of this ought to melt away every drop of holiday shopping stress, don't you think? Photobucket

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