Hot Chocolate on a Stick. Need I say more?!
Since my youngest munchkin turned one, I have made these little goodies on a stick as part of a Hot Chocolate Bar for her birthday party every year and it’s always a big hit. Now that her 3rd birthday is in a few days, I thought I’d try changing it up and try a new recipe (I know, I’m so last minute!).
I absolutely love how this new recipe turned out and wanted to share since these are perfect for giving out as gifts this upcoming holiday season. I mean, who wouldn’t love to get a few of these, right?
Now don’t get me wrong, the other recipe was great too and is perfect if you don’t have ice cube trays/molds since you can use a square pan. The texture of the final product closely resembles fudge and is actually made in a similar fashion. The recipe is also perfect if you wanted to mix in any type of alcohol/extract.
But I prefer this recipe, based off of this one for two reasons, has a better shelf life since it doesn’t have heavy cream (perfect for make-ahead edible christmas gifts!) and it melts a little smoother. I find that the recipe I previously used, if not wrapped shortly after cutting, tends to get crusty edges that just never fully melt (and with a hot chocolate bar, I didn’t need nor want to wrap each stick individually).
Now let’s talk chocolate.
This recipe works with really whatever chocolate you prefer. Bittersweet, Dark, Semisweet, Milk, or a combination of them. I prefer the Dark Chocolate myself mixed with some Milk Chocolate for a perfect balance that’s not too bitter, not too sweet, has a rich chocolate flavor, and a general crowd pleaser.
Regardless of what type of chocolate floats your boat, please do not use chocolate chips. I’ve never really had success with them in this recipe. They are formulated specifically to keep their shape when you bake with them – which means, they won’t melt in your steaming mug of milk properly.
And I beg of you, under no circumstances should you use fake chocolate, like Almond Bark/Candy Melts. Just no.
My favorite (shhh.. it’s a secret…) is Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bars. I mean, what’s not to like? Belgian Chocolate. $4.99. Over 1lb. and absolutely melt in your mouth delicious! Don’t believe me? Just google it. =)
The recipe’s actually really easy, melt the chocolate, add the cocoa powder and powdered sugar, mix, put into the molds, and add a stick. The trick is to not get any water into the chocolate or it will seize and become a grainy mess. If you’re not comfortable using a double boiler to melt the chocolate, by all means use the microwave.
For molding the Hot Chocolate on a Stick, I use a silicone ice cube tray as my mold but you can also use regular or shaped ice cube trays, dixie cups, mini muffin pan (though you will need to put paper liners in them or they won’t unmold) and really anything around that size.
As for the stick, I’ve used lollipop sticks (6″ is ideal), popsicle sticks, wooden coffee stirrers, and birchwood spoons .
Personally, I would shy away from using paper straws as the “stick”. I know they come in cute colors and designs, but from personal experience, they will fall apart during the stirring process. Additionally, everyone will become tempted to drink the hot chocolate through the straw, where the last bits of unmelted chocolate are, which is not what you want the first sip to be like.
What’s fun (as if Hot Chocolate on a Stick is not already fun!) is that you can also put toppings in it to give it a bit of pizazz/flavor. My favorites are marshmallows and crushed candy canes. Just press them into the chocolate before they firm up.
For the hot chocolate bar however, I like to leave them plain and put the topping in bowls on the side for guests to add themselves.
Now all you need is a steaming cup of milk. (And if you want to be extra decadent, add some half & half into the milk as well…I promise I won’t tell!)
Don’t forget to check out the entertaining tips after the recipe for more ideas.
- 16 oz good quality chocolate - not chips (I use 12oz dark chocolate and 4oz milk chocolate, but you can use what you prefer)
- ⅓ cup cocoa (loosely packed) - 40g
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (loosely packed) - 110g
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Toppings such as crushed candy canes or marshmallows(optional)
- Piping bag or Ziplock Bag
- Mold (Ice Cube Trays, Mini Muffin Pan with paper liners, dixie cups, etc.)
- Sticks (6" lollipop sticks, popsicle sticks, wooden coffee stirrers, birch spoons)
- Chop up the chocolate into small, similarly sized pieces for even melting.
- In a double boiler or microwave melt the chocolate until smooth.
- Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar and keep mixing until combined. Texture will be similar to fudge frosting.
- Place piping bag or ziplock bag, into tall glass cuffing the opening over the rim. (This is to make filling the bag easier)
- Cut off corner of ziplock bag if using and fill the molds.
- Tap the mold onto the counter firmly a few times to allow mixture to settle and smooth out the tops.
- Insert stick and add toppings if using.
- Allow to firm on countertop several hours or in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
To make hot chocolate:
- Place Hot Chocolate on a Stick into 6-8 oz of hot milk (or milk mixed with half & half) and stir until melted.
To set up a hot chocolate bar:
- Display the hot chocolate on a stick next to an airpot or thermal carafe of hot milk and cups.
- Display containers filled with various toppings for guests to add to their hot chocolate. Some toppings ideas:
- Homemade or mini marshmallows
- Mini/crushed candy canes
- Caramel sauce in squeeze bottle & Coarse sea salt in shaker (for salted caramel hot chocolate)
- Cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon
- White chocolate chips
- Chocolate shavings
- Whipped Cream
As always I’d love to hear how it turned out if you try the recipe as well as any flavor combination suggestions!