A ways back, I did a post called The Days of Chocolate and Raspberries, writing about a few of my favorite summer raspberry desserts. For today's post, I'm swapping out one of those ingredients to bring you the best flavor combination of the season... mint and chocolate. :)
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Coffee
We use Martha Stewart's Hot Cocoa recipe, which has a good amount of salt. I don't know about you, but I think chocolate tastes so much richer with some salt added to it.
Once the mix is prepared, you can store it in a Tupperware container to be enjoyed all winter long!
To make a single serving of hot chocolate, I usually fill a mug halfway with coffee, and top it off with milk. Heat in the microwave for at least 1 min. 30 sec. (The hotter the liquid is, the better it will dissolve the cocoa mix.) Add 2 heaping spoons of cocoa mix, and stir well. Throw in a peppermint or candy cane and stir a bit more to suffuse the minty flavor. Oh, and marshmallows of course!
This hardly necessitates a recipe. You just need equal amounts of semisweet and white chocolate, and some crushed peppermint. This was my first time making peppermint bark, and I learned some valuable things...
Spreading the chocolate. Act quickly! Don't let perfectionist tendencies get the better of you when you're spreading out the melted chocolate. When I was working on the white chocolate layer, I was being too finicky about getting it perfectly smooth, and by the time I got to sprinkling the peppermint, the chocolate was nearly set and the mint didn't adhere well. *sigh* I'll do better next time. ;)
Crushing the mint. I began by snapping the candy canes into pieces, but soon realized that one-inch chunks of candy cane wouldn't be too easily edible. Suddenly, I remembered a method I had used months ago for crushing almonds. Spread the candy cane pieces (or nuts, as the case may be!) out on wax paper. Grab a sturdy, flat-bottomed bowl (it may be the very one you melted the chocolate in. Saves on the washing up.) and press the bottom of the bowl down on the candy pieces 'til you hear/feel a crunch. Voilà, crushed peppermint!
And to round out our selection of minty-chocolaty goodness, here's one of last year's 12 Cookies of Christmas...
Mint Mocha M&M Cookies
Unfortunately, the King Arthur Flour recipe I used last Christmas doesn't seem to be available. However, they have a very similar cookie here, that I'm certain would turn out just as well (King Arthur Flour is foolproof.) Swap out the suggested chocolate chunks for M&M Holiday Mint candies instead. They add some festive color and a bold minty flavor. As always, be on the lookout for after-Christmas bargains on candy! You might be able to find these M&Ms for mere pennies now.
'Til next time,