I was a little hesitant to share this because it's my Christmas gift to extended family this year and posting it will ruin the surprise. But I thought about it, and figured some of you might want to make these yourselves to hand out to teachers, crossing guards, hair stylists, etc. You can make individual ones like this:
I bought small treat bags at Michael's, put the chocolate end inside and added a few marshmallows. Then I secured the bag with a red twist tie and tied the tag (with instructions on back) with a ribbon. For the family, I put several into a large treat bag, added some marshmallows and tied the bag closed with ribbon and a tag. I then put them into the cute felt buckets you see below with a little paper filler to keep them snug.
I got the buckets at Target's Dollar Spot. Aren't they cute?
The recipe comes from Giver's Log. I do suggest checking out her post because she gives a lot of great advice about what chocolate to use and other molding ideas (like ice cube trays or small paper cups). I knew I was making a lot of these, so I bought Wilton's Brownie Bite silicone mold at Michael's (I had a lot of 40% off coupons, can you tell?), which has 24 squares. I estimate each square equals about 3/4 of an ounce. One batch made 11-12 squares.
I started out using popsicle sticks only to discover they aren't super great when it comes to stirring. So I switched to plastic spoons. You can leave them to set at room temperature or you can speed up the process by sticking them in the fridge. Once they are hard, you can just bend the mold and they pop right out.
The chocolates I used (because it's more economical than Ghiradelli's) are Baker's Semi-Sweet:
And the large Hershey's Symphony bar (the plain milk chocolate one - this photo says it's 5 oz. but I'm 99% sure they aren't 5 oz. anymore, more like 4.75 or something like that):
The Baker's bar is usually found in the baking aisle and the Symphony bar is in the candy aisle. The best prices I've found on both are at Wal-mart. I wasn't sure which would make better hot chocolate so I made one batch with just Bakers and one batch with just Symphony. Bakers was a little too...semi-sweet and didn't melt very well. The Symphony melted great but lacked flavor. So I compromised and combined them. And then I decided I wanted to dress it up a bit with peppermint. I've included instructions at the bottom.
HOT COCOA ON A STICK
from Giver's Log
8 oz. chocolate, chopped (4 oz. [4 squares] Bakers + one large Symphony bar)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Sift together the cocoa and sugar in a small bowl (this is an important step - make sure you sift it - use a wire mesh strainer and a spoon if you have to).
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave on high, stirring after the first 30 seconds. Microwave 30 seconds more; stir. Microwave about 15 seconds more and stir (there will still be lumps of chocolate at this point but that is okay, just keep stirring it until it's all smooth).
Stir in half the cocoa mixture until combined. Stir in remaining half (this will take some elbow grease - the chocolate will be the consistency of a thick cookie dough).
Divide chocolate into molds (I just used a spoon). Insert spoons or sticks. Allow to firm up at room temp or refrigerate. Remove from molds.
PEPPERMINT VARIATION (this is enough for 8 hot cocoa batches):
12 oz. bag white candy melts
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 box peppermint candy canes, crushed
Melt candy in microwave-safe bowl according to package instructions. Stir in extract (if candy freezes - or turns lumpy - add a teaspoon of shortening or vegetable oil). Dip hot cocoa "sticks" first in melted candy, then crushed candy canes. Lay on waxed or parchment paper until firm.
Add 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to sifted cocoa and powdered sugar before stirring into chocolate. Later dip "sticks" in melted chocolate then dip in crushed red hot candies.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING HOT CHOCOLATE:
The amount of milk will vary depending on the amount of chocolate in your mold (2 Tbsp. = 1 oz.). Essentially it's 1 cup of milk to 1 oz. of chocolate. So, since my molds were essentially 3/4 of an ounce, these are my instructions:
Heat 3/4 cup (6 oz). milk in mug until steaming. Stir in chocolate until melted. Add marshmallows and enjoy!
These may be stored in an airtight container up to one year. Chocolate may "bloom" or lighten in color - this will not affect quality or taste.