I love hot chocolate. You probably already know that if you read my Options Hot Chocolate review or saw my hot chocolate stirring spoons I posted here last year. I hate coffee - truly hate it. I hate the taste and what it...well, does to me. I can't see how anyone can taste it and say "ooh, I like that" unless peer pressure is involved. But, honestly, I'm not judging, and in the winter especially, it's nice to have a hot drink. I've become a pretentious green tea lover, but green tea isn't really the kind of drink you cuddle up in a blanket with - you know the vision: blankets, log fire, low lights while it's dark outside, big toasty slippers and either a book or a nice movie, topped off with a thick hot chocolate or coffee.
I usually stick with Options - like I've said before, it's amazing stuff, no need for milk or anything, and it's got so few calories and so many flavours, how can you not love it? Plus, they're like 35p a sachet - yes, sachets. This means easy portion control.
But that's not what I'm going to talk about today.
I know I just said it doesn't need milk or cream, but let's face it, we all have our naughty moments, and when it comes to hot chocolate, aside from giving myself perhaps a few extra spoons of powder from hot cocoa drums, I love to add milk or cream to thicken it up more.
I recently bought some evaporated milk for a Halloween recipe (which went wrong, but I'm trying again), and ended up with two thirds of a tin left over. I couldn't leave it in the fridge so I decided to add it to my hot chocolate that evening. Um, yum. Evaporated milk is like cream in consistancy, but has so much less fat. I decided that perhaps freezing it would be a good idea - it would keep longer - but I was still quite hung up on the whole thick and creamy hot chocolate thing.
I have these adorable mini amo silicone cake cases - they're just over an inch across and 1cm deep. And, shaped like hearts and stars. I poured the milk (cream also works) into these silicone cases, then added some mini marshmallows and some Divine Deli golden stars to the top of them and put them in the freezer. Evaporated milk can be frozen for 6 weeks with no reduction to nutrients (if frozen properly), and the silicone cases easily pulled away from the frozen pieces.
The downside was that they didn't float visibly on the surface, and I begin to think the only reason they did at all was because of the marshmallows, but I might be wrong. Either way, using these cases - or, alternatively, ice cube trays - allow for great portion control, to make sure you don't add a little extra each time. Plus, the shapes you can make, as well as adding these stars (or something similar) and marshmallows, or sprinkles, make them much more delightful, visually, if you're having the family or some friends over one Winter evening.
Dead simple stuff. All you need is cream or evaporated milk (which has far less fat and can be frozen for 6 weeks with no decrease in quality), an ice cube tray or silicone molds, and something to make your cream extra special. The Divine Deli golden stars are part of their Decorate! range, but I've only ever seen them in a garden centre - Cadbury garden center in Congresbury, to be precise. Still, they last for a long time, and there are so many other items in their cake decorating range, like little toffee balls coated in chocolate about 5mm in size. Um, yum.
Just pour your milk or cream into the molds, add the marshmallows or other decorations to the top of it, then put them in the freezer. They'll be done in a few hours and ready to pop in your chocolate or coffee, and melt gradually from the heat of your drink. I've had like, five of these since I made them a week* ago. They're amazing for the winter, and I'm going to make some more when they're all gone. My dad has also been raiding them, but that's probably for the best of my waistline.
And if you're looking for a great hot chocolate recipe, check out VividPlease' latest tutorial!
*four days, actually