ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hot Chocolate Stir Sticks

Let's start 2013 off with a recipe I may have made more than any other in 2012. 

I made about 200 of these for our church's Christmas party in December, then helped stir and ladle hot milk from the stove all night, so everyone could have made-to-order hot chocolate.  When you put me in charge of the cocoa bar, you're not going to get Swiss Miss. 

Cutest mug ever, right? 

I didn't invent the whole idea, but it did evolve.  First, I thought of those chocolate-covered spoons you stir into coffee, but I didn't think it would be enough chocolate for a good 8-oz. cup of cocoa.  I hunted around food blogs for awhile, and came up with a few renditions to try - the first was just chocolate, but it bloomed within hours, and I needed something that could keep.  (And there was no way I was tempering chocolate for this quantity.)  The next one I tried was too fudgy, and fell off the stick at room temperature (but still made good hot chocolate.)  We drank a lot of cocoa at our house those first weeks of December.  Our counter became lined with Tupperware of chocolate experiments, and Poppy came to ask regularly if she could taste one of my "speriments." 

 Eventually I settled on a simple ganache, with half the cream, so it would stay just solid at room temperature, but still melt into a creamy mug.  Don't mind if I say so myself, they were the hit of the party.







Hot Chocolate Stir Sticks (print recipe)
Makes 12

12 oz. chocolate chips or other semisweet/dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 T cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
12 lollipop sticks
Cooking spray

1.  Melt chocolate and cream in microwave, for 20-30 seconds at a time, until chocolate is just melted; stir until smooth.  Add cocoa powder and stir in.  Add any flavorings you want, like 1/2 tsp peppermint extract or 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon.  Or leave plain chocolate.

2.  Spray a 12-well ice cube tray with cooking spray and dust thoroughly with cocoa powder.  Scoop chocolate mixture into a piping bag or gallon Ziploc and snip off the corner.  Pipe chocolate into the tray cups.  Stick a lollipop stick into the center of each one, giving it a twist as it goes in, to make sure the chocolate attaches.  Sprinkle anything on top that you want, like jimmies, nonpareils, coarse sugar, etc.  Or leave plain chocolate.  Chill for a at least 1 hour in the fridge.

3.  To remove chocolate from ice cube tray, twist the tray a bit like when you are getting ice out.  Place upright and gently wiggle sticks out.  If they don't come easily, run the underside of the tray under hot water for a few seconds and try again.  They should come out easily after that.  Store in refrigerator for a few days or at room temperature for a few hours.

4.  To make hot chocolate, heat 8 ounces milk in microwave or on stovetop, until steaming but not boiling.  It needs to be pretty hot.  Place stir stick in, and stir until chocolate dissolves to make one freaking decadent cup of cocoa.  Top with nutmeg, cinnamon, whipped cream, and/or marshmallows. 

Variations: 
- To make peppermint stir sticks, I added 1/2 tsp peppermint extract and a handful of crushed candy canes to the chocolate after it was melted but before piping into the molds. 
- To make salted caramel, I piped a big blob of dulce de leche on top of each chocolate cube, and sprinkled with a pinch of flaked salt just before serving. 


1 year ago:  Easy Pretzel Fudge
2 years ago:  Gearing Up for 2011
3 years ago:  Yeasted Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with Nutmeg Butter

2 comments:

ARLENE said...

This is brilliant. Will be picking up some cream tomorrow!

kat said...

i would LOVE to go to your ward christmas party! or just pop on over to your house for cocoa! :)

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