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Diva: Cozy up with hot chocolate on a stick

Gourmet hot chocolate on a stick? Yes! Please and thank you! The perfect holiday recipe for delicious blocks of chocolate ganache that are stirred into hot milk and melted to make rich, creamy hot chocolate. Almond or soy milk are delicious as well. But wait! This candy is a multi-tasker. You can also enjoy eating it right off the stick for a very decadent treat.

With endless variations, this handy dandy candy makes a great gift. You can add marshmallows, candy canes, caramel, even peanut butter.

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

What You’ll Need:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

3 cups (18 to 20 oz.) chocolate chips – milk, semi-sweet, dark or a combination

Crushed candy canes – optional

Marshmallows – optional

Here’s How:

Prepare your mold – an 8×8 pan lined with parchment and sprayed with cooking spray. Or small paper cups, an ice cube tray, or silicone mold. They all work. You’ll also need either plastic spoons or bamboo skewers. Alternatively, you could use candy canes as sticks. Adorable!

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and sweetened condensed milk over LOW heat until steaming. Stir frequently so that the condensed milk does not scorch on the bottom of the pan. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl.

Once the liquid is simmering, pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for two minutes to soften. Begin whisking the cream and chocolate together. Stir until the chocolate is melted and you have a shiny, smooth mixture. It will be quite thick. If you wish you can add ¼ teaspoon extract, like vanilla or almond.

Pour chocolate into your mold of choice, refrigerate. The mixture will begin to solidify as it cools. Insert your spoons or skewers as the mixture sets up. If you’re using an 8×8 pan, heat a knife under hot water, wipe dry and cut into 16 squares. Repeat heating as necessary.

At this point, you can sprinkle your creation with crushed candy canes or cocoa powder, or drizzle with white chocolate.

If you’re giving these as gifts, wrap each stick with wax paper or cellophane. Give instructions to stir each stick into eight ounces of hot milk.

News Flash: Sweetened condensed milk is available in chocolate and caramel flavors this season!

Variations:

Vanilla – White chocolate chips and add a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring.

Peanut Butter Chocolate – Press a peanut butter cup onto each stick.

White Chocolate Mint – White chocolate chips and add ½ cup crushed peppermint and ½ teaspoon peppermint extract.

Salted Caramel – Place a caramel candy (like ROLO) on each stick and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Chocolate and Chili – Add 1 teaspoon chili powder to dark or semi-sweet chocolate.

Having a party? How about a hot chocolate bar? Set a selection of these beauties on a platter with a crockpot of heated milk, marshmallows and peppermints and let guests make their own cozy cups. These fun little sticks of happiness also make delightful take-home treats!

Is there a better way to share a cup of cheer? I think not.

Frugal Festivity contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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