I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Hot Chocolate Pops

I was in a very fancy grocery store and saw a lovely, beautifully wrapped box of hot chocolate-on-a-stick.  My first thought was “I can do that.”  And those babies with their cellophane and ribbon and fancy label were selling for $10 apiece.  Yea, I can do much better than that.

These pops are basically block of chocolate ganache on a stick.  You can flavor the chocolate, coat the cubes in powdered sugar or colored sugar and use any number of ideas for the stick.  Serve these at a holiday party, for kids or adults, or wrap a few in cellophane of your own and give them as gifts.

Hot Chocolate Pops

8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (60 % cocoa)

8 ounces milk chocolate

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Line an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf tin with non-stick foil, waxed paper or plastic wrap, leaving some overhang.

Break up the chocolate into very small pieces and place into a shallow bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it just comes to a boil.

When the cream is hot, pour it through a sieve over the chocolate and leave to soften for a minute.  Stir the mixture vigorously until all the chocolate is melted and smooth. Scrape all of the chocolate into the prepared loaf tin, smooth the top, and leave to cool, then refrigerate for about an hour until just firm.  Gently remove the loaf using the overhanging wrap and cut the block into eight 1 ½ inch  cubes. Run your knife under warm water before each cut.  Insert the desired stirrer into the center of each cube, making sure they will stand up on their own.  Gently return the block to the loaf tin and refrigerate until completely firm.

The pops will keep in the fridge for a week, but bring them to room temperature before using.

If you’d like, you can coat the cubes of chocolate in powdered sugar or colored decorating sugar.

For Hot Chocolate:

Bring the pops to room temperature.  For each cup of hot chocolate, heat 1¼ cup of milk over medium heat until bubbles start to break on the surface, just before it boils.  Pour into a mug and add a hot chocolate pop.  Stir until the chocolate is melted.

Flavoring options:

1 teaspoon peppermint extract or

1 Tablespoon amaretto or

1 Tablespoon Kahlua or coffee liqueur or

½ vanilla bean or

2 cinnamon sticks

For flavored pops: Stir one of the flavor additions into the cream before heating it.  If using vanilla bean or cinnamon sticks, heat the cream with the add-in, leave to infuse for 1 hour, remove the solid, then reheat the cream and continue.

Stirrer options:

Popsicle sticks

Wooden popsicle sticks or heavy skewers

Candy canes

Cinnamon sticks

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