Hola! Are you feeling the holiday cheer already? If you are like me you are not completely relaxing into the festivities but stressing a bit over getting nice presents for everyone. Presents don't have to be, at least in my opinion, expensive shiny things for them to be good presents. A small gesture and thoughtful something that says "thought of you, truly wish you a happy day", can be more meaningful in the end. That's why I like to give homemade food gifts, or another great way to go bigger is an "experience gift", which means you plan an experience for that person and get the things that'll take him or her there. Like a cozy blanket, a cup and some homemade hot chocolate, you can even throw in a book you just know they'll love and there you have it: you are gifting an experience. In the end, all gifts are a nice gesture, and as such, all of them should be more than welcome, so don't be like me and stop stressing about them and just bake something nice for everyone, or if you are tight on a budget you can just write some nice holiday cards to share a bit of the joy with the people you want to see happy.
Today I'm sharing a very simple "recipe" (if one can call it so) that is easily customizable and easy to make so you can give them as gifts or just make a batch for a holiday party for your guests to enjoy. Hot chocolate sticks can be made with any kind of chocolate, though I recommend mixing a bit of milk chocolate with dark chocolate, to get a semi sweet flavor and all the richness. White and dark chocolate is a good mix too, but you can experiment with your favorite ones or whatever you have at hand. You can even use chocolate chips. And for toppings you can go crazy as well!
HOT CHOCOLATE STICKS
- Chocolate bars
- Pinch of salt (you can also add cayenne, cinnamon, orange zest, etc)
- Cocoa powder (about 1 tbsp per 6-7oz of chocolate)
- Honey or condensed milk* (you can use sugar too)
SWEETENERS: depending on the type of chocolate you are using, you might need a bit more or a bit less of it, taste it until you have the desired sweetness, and keep in mind a lil bit more sweet than what you want is better because when mixed with milk the sweetness will tone down a bit.
YOU'LL ALSO NEED
- Sticks (straws, lollipop sticks, stirrers, and so on)
- Ice cube tray or chocolate mold (i recommend silicon)
- Toppings (marshmallows, sprinkles, peppermint candy, etc)
- Chop the chocolate bars and using a double boiler or a microwave-safe bowl, melt your chocolate.
- Add your spices, cocoa powder and sweetener. Mix well.
- Transfer to a piping bag (or ziploc bag) or use a spoon to scoop into the ice cube tray/mold. If it's still too hot, let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then insert the stick and add your toppings.
- Refrigerate for at least half an hour until the chocolate hardens.
- Unmold and enjoy. You will only need to add them to a cup of hot milk and you'll have an instant rich and delicious hot chocolate.
What are you giving out as gifts this years? I'll be sharing a couple more ideas during this month as a countdown to the holidays. And remember that whatever you give, no matter how big or small, can make someone's day, whether it's the moment they receive it or some unknown date in the future where they'll eat/wear/use/read it. If the weather is getting colder, grab a cup of hot milk, throw one of these in and enjoy a warm sip while relaxing for a bit and, maybe, contemplating about the good moments this year gave you.