Summer drinks…

Yeah, so I suppose you stumbled in here thinking “It’s July, she’s gonna be all Pina Coladas & drinks with paper umbrellas”?

Well, you’d be wrong! Yes, it is July- the height of summer but it’s freezing 😦 Seriously, it was so cold here yesterday that I put the central heating on and boiled up a big ol’ cauldron pot of thick spicy butternut soup.

So instead of basking in the sun; as one may imagine you’d be doing mid-July; I’m sitting snuggled in a hoody, nursing a hot chocolate & watching the rain battering down. Sigh…

Still, it does mean i get to share a yummy recipe with you:

Hot Chocolate Stirrers! These became a minor obsession in our house over winter 🙂 Essentially they are blocks of chocolate (ok, there are a few other ingredients) on the end of a spoon or stirring stick which you stir into a mug of hot milk to make the most amazingly delicious Hot Chocolate!

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There are a few recipes for these floating around; some more complicated than others; but after making HUNDREDS of these as Christmas stocking fillers, care package additions & study survival treats during exam time; I’ve come to the conclusion that you can do without a lot of the extra ingredients.

What you need:  Equipment:

  • spoons or sticks (I use disposable wooden ones for gifting, I’ve seen some cute ones using vintage silver teaspoons.)
  • mould (I use ice-cube trays for the block ones, plastic shot glasses or small silicone cake cases work too)
  • double boiler, bain-marie or glass bowl that will fit over a saucepan
  • a glass or jug and a disposable piping bag or zip-lock bag

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate, lots of it! For every 200 g of choc, you will also need
  • 40 g Cocoa
  • 60 g Icing sugar

Plus, any of the following Optional Extras, for decorating:

  • sugar balls
  • edible glitter
  • mini marshmallows
  • crushed candy cane
  • freeze dried raspberry
  • edible gold leaf
  • chocolate shavings …….

Method:

  • Melt your chocolate
  • Stir in cocoa & icing sugar
  • 3/4 fill each mould ( sit the bag in the glass and fill with the chocolate mixture – it’s easier 7 tidier than trying to pour or spoon it in. trust me!!)
  • Leave to cool for around 20 -30 minutes. Once it has started to thicken, you can insert the spoons or sticks. If you do this while the choc is still runny, they just slowly fall over.
  • Add your chosen toppings
  • Leave to set overnight before removing from the mould.

To Brew:

  • Warm, until almost boiling, 250-350ml of your preferred milk per stick.
  • Decant into your favourite mug and dip in your Stirrer.
  • Stir continuously until completely melted.
  • Add a splash of cold milk if required, whipped cream if you’re feeling particularly decadent, and ENJOY!!

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For home use, we just leave them in the fridge, still in the tray and remove as required but they make nice gifts wrapped in little cellophane bags with a gift tag bearing brewing instructions. they will store in an airtight container for a while and don’t need to be refrigerated. VARIATIONS:

  • These work equally well using white or milk chocolate. you can even layer different chocolates. At Christmas we did some Christmas Pudding ones using dark choc with a thin layer of white and added little sugar sprinkles in the shape of holly leaves & berries.
  • Try using flavoured chocolate. (Terry’s Chocolate Orange ones were AHMAYZING!) Just don’t try to add liquid flavourings or alcohol – these will make your chocolate seize. You could however stir in a shot of your favourite tipple when you are brewing your cuppa!
  • Whilst I use really good quality chocolate, with a high % of cocoa when i am making these for gifts; inexpensive chocolate does the job just as well. I used supermarket value range 100 gram bars at 30p each when making these for a kids party and the parents were all raving about them….

Please let me know in the comments if you try these, or if you swear by a different recipe.

Dark Chocolate with a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberry is my favourite, what’s yours?

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