I’m about to get real crafty on you.
I love making gifts. Buying a gift is fun, especially if you get to see the recipient open it, but making gifts is hugely entertaining. For me, it’s an excuse to try ridiculous and absurd and totally unnecessary edibles. Like this.
I’ve been wanting to make homemade hot chocolate as a gift now for some time, but felt somewhat neutral on the idea of mixing together cocoa and sugar in a jar to create a mix. Finally, I found what I was looking for: a cube of chocolate ON A STICK melted into hot milk, for a creamy, interactive hot chocolate experience. After making a double batch for my friends and family, I most certainly now want to make a batch for myself, and I thought you might, too.
The concept is simple enough: take a really, really good chocolate, melt it, add cocoa and powdered sugar, pipe into mold, add a stick, and call yourself Willy Wonka.
But first, let’s talk about chocolate for a minute. Or rather, melting it. When melting chocolate, water is like poison: a single drop can cause the whole batch to seize up, leaving you with an awkward, clumpy glob. The common impulse at this point is to increase the heat, which only makes matters worse. Traditionally, home bakers have melted chocolate in a double boiler, which produces steam and as you may know, steam is WATER. Not really good for steam to billow out from a double boiler only to collapse immediately into your chocolate. Solution? Microwave. Not the most sophisticated sounding solution, but definitely the easiest and fastest way to get chocolate that is perfectly melted.
Next! Your beautifully melted chocolate is about to turn into a thick, brown, glob that seems unusable. This is exactly the way that it should be. Remember, we’re not going for chocolate milk, we’re going for a rich, thick, creamy mug of miracle, and the cocoa and powdered sugar push us closer to that end.
Getting the chocolate into the molds (these ice cube trays work perrrrfectly) is the next challenge. My first batch was a bit too thick with too many dry ingredients, which produced a sensation in my arms that I was actually squeezing mostly dry concrete out of my piping bag. Keep those dry ingredients loosely packed for a more successful project.
Then prod each with a stick and add four little marshmallows to the top. The marshmallows are not technically required, I suppose, but they do make them look a lot more like hot chocolate and a lot less like a chocolate lollipop. Right? Plus who doesn’t like a few little mallows?
After a few hours of waiting…
they can come out of their little mold, solid as a rock.
Now I suppose you could stop here. But after making such a clever little gift, shouldn’t you give it the courtesy of some fancypants ribbon and some little instructions?
Hot Chocolate Sticks
Adapted from Giver’slog
Makes 15-16 sticks
Update: It seems that some people have had trouble with the consistency of the mixture becoming too thick. I made another batch and weighed the dry ingredients and have included the measurements below. This should help to remove any issues caused by inconsistencies in measuring cup sizes or method of packing those cups.
sticks (at least 5 inches long)
piping bag or sandwich bag with 1/2″ corner cut off
ice cube tray or deep candy mold, each cavity approximately 1 ounce
9 oz. milk chocolate (not chips)
7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (not chips)
1/2 c (1.5 oz) loosely packed cocoa
1 c (4.5 oz) loosely packed powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
In a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, powdered sugar, and salt. Set aside
Chop chocolate into small pieces (no larger than about 3/4″ inch long) and combine in a glass bowl that is completely dry. Microwave in 30 second bursts on 50% power, stirring between each burst, ensuring that your spatula is also completely dry. Once chocolate is about 2/3 melted (there are still some chunks in the melted chocolate), stir until remaining chunks melt. This prevents the chocolate from getting too hot.
Pour melted chocolate into the mixing bowl containing the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Mixture will be very thick, similar to brownie batter. Spoon mixture into a piping bag (no coupler or tip is needed) or into a sandwich bag with the corner sliced off. Pipe the chocolate into an ice cube tray.
Once all chocolate has been piped, pound the tray lightly on the counter to eliminate air bubbles and to flatten the tops of the cubes if they are uneven. Working one cube at a time, insert a stick and place four mini marshmallows onto the top of the cube. Once all cubes are complete, set aside until cubes are completely dry. You can also place them in the fridge if you are in a hurry.
Once all cubes are dry, remove carefully from the molds. Wrap pretty and store in the cupboard.
Heat up 1 cup milk (approximately 1 ounce of chocolate should be used for each cup of milk, so adjust based on the weight of your cube) and stir in. Cube will take several minutes to dissolve completely.