A Grown Up Hot Chocolate Bar (Vegan, Gluten Free)
So here's the thing. It's winter, right? And, like, SO close to Christmas. I mean, Chanukah starts on freakin TUESDAY! And I'm breezily walking out of my house sans mittens and hat, my overcoat wide open, wearing shorts with tights. Because it's winter-warm. 50 degrees-ish, I mean. It feels nothing like the Christmas season. Where are the glistening streets dusted in powdered sugar? The lights blinking through a freezing mist? The iced over windows?
So I made this complaint to the universe (why no holiday cheer, universe?!). And a couple of things happened. 1. My husband decided to buck up my spirits by picking up his bass and playing Christmas songs with me -- just the two of us -- in our living room. 2. I got invited to a cookie swap attended by a bunch of really beautiful, happy, positive hippie gals like myself and it RULED. All of the cookies were pro-level and there were tons of creative classics (sage shortbread! sweet potato anise cookies!). 3. I ended up attending a really cool Christmas concert at a church in a black box theater that included a full string section, 20 choral singers, a folky music director on lead, and some pretty fantastic modern dance.
So the universe was like OH YOU WANT SOME HOLIDAY CHEER, HUH?! FINE THEN. YOU ASKED FOR IT.
So I've definitely got some more glittery, cheery vibes coursing through my veins now. And to top it all off Logan & I are going to NYC this weekend! We've sort of gotten out of the habit of giving each other gifts for birthdays and Christmas time and instead make plans to go somewhere awesome. And seriously what's better than NYC around Christmas time? I'm gonna eat all the gluten free donuts. And goat cheese ice cream -- I don't even care that it'll probably be snowing. (Also if you live in New York you should go to this amazing show coming up this Wednesday. Two of the most talented musicians I know are playing a show together with a full string section and I'm really sad I can't be there!)
So! Just in case you're feeling a little less than stoked about the season, here's a hot chocolate bar recipe I made up for that cookie swap I went to! It was a really fun little addition and definitely makes an event feel extra cozy. You can do all sorts of flavors too! I think mint (mint extract + crushed peppermint candies) would be lovely. There are tons of combinations to play with! I want to do an all white chocolate one now!
- Chocolate base
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
- 200 grams dark chocolate (70% or more) chips or chopped chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Aztec Spice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Salted Caramel
- 2 tablespoons[url href="https://willfrolicforfood.com/2014/02/coconut-dulce-de-leche-vegan.html"] dulce de leche[/url]
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- To serve
- 1 gallon homemade nut milk (almond, cashew) or raw cows milk
- Marshmallows (optional)
- Set a silicon mold with 1.5 inch squares on a baking sheet or cutting board. Set aside.
- Place a double boiler over low heat.
- Once the water is at a simmer, add your coconut oil and chocolate.
- Melt over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat.
- Let the chocolate sit for 5 minutes more in the double boiler. Stir once more to blend.
- Pour 50 grams of chocolate into four separate ramekins or bowls.
- For the chai chocolate: stir in the cardamom, ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon. Fill four squares equally in your silicon mold with the chai chocolate.
- For the aztec spice chocolate: stir in the ground chipotle, cayenne, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Fill four squares in your silicon mold with the aztec spice chocolate.
- For the salted caramel chocolate: stir in the dulce de leche. Fill five squares in your silicon mold with the caramel chocolate. Sprinkle the tops of the chocolates with sea salt.
- For the plain dark chocolate: fill four squares in your silicon mold with the dark chocolate.
- Place the mold in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Take the mold out, and fit a straw into each square of chocolate. Place the mold back in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove each square from the silicon mold without bending the straw.
- To serve, arrange the squares in little rows with a sign marking each different flavor.
- Heat the nut milk or raw milk just until simmering and beginning to steam. Combine individual squares with one cup of milk each. Stir to melt the chocolate.