Tag Archives | new year

Hot Chocolate…on a STICK.


So, it’s been three months since my last post. I’m pretty much the worst blogger on the planet. You’re about to forgive me though, because I come bearing Hot Chocolate on a Stick.

Part of living in Minnesota is surrendering myself to the notion that every type of food imaginable can and should be served on a stick whenever possible. The winters are very, very dark and long here; I’m not going to begrudge anyone whatever amusement they can find. If putting a wooden skewer through a snack makes you happy, then more power to you!

Given that I’ve garnered a bit of a reputation when it comes to all things edible over the past year, I knew that whatever Christmas gifts I gave this year had to include something homemade and delicious. I didn’t want to send anything too delicate that might break or spoil during shipping, so that ruled out most of my original ideas. By sheer luck I stumbled across this post on an adorable blog called Giver’s Log and knew instantly that I’d found the perfect thing.

I made 68 of them, because I am just that crazy.

David was away deer hunting almost every weekend (we recently bought a 7 cubic ft freezer chest to hold all the venison meat. And David claims to have grown up in the suburbs), so luckily I had the whole kitchen to myself. Sixty-eight chocolates molded in Dixie cups with sticks and candy canes poking out of them take up an astonishing amount of space.



The most time consuming part of the entire project was actually the packaging. I made three flavors: original, peppermint, and cinnamon. I wrapped each individual stick in plastic and tied it up with ribbon, hemp twine, and a little label indicating the flavor. Then I grouped them up and placed them together in larger bags–four to a pack–and added another label with directions.


We had a huge blizzard the weekend that I made all of these. It was so cozy to be inside my apartment melting chocolate and eating broken candy canes while the snow piled up outside. I may also have had a mug of hot chocolate or two. I mean, someone had to be the taste-tester and David was up in Wisconsin sitting outside in the freezing snowstorm waiting for Bambi to come along, so I had to bite the bullet myself. Tough job.






Hot Chocolate on a Stick

adapted from Giver’s Log
Yield: approximately 10 sticks of Hot Chocolate

WORD OF WARNING: Do not let so much as a drop of water near your chocolate or it will seize. If it seizes (and you will know if it does because it will become a grainy, horrible mess) it will still taste delicious, but it won’t look as pretty. If you don’t care how they look, then you don’t have to be so vigilant. Make sure that all of your equipment is bone-dry. NO LIQUIDS. This means that you can’t add booze to these (just splash some into your mug once it’s all made!) or things like vanilla or almond extract. If you want to add flavorings they should be in powder or paste form only.

You will need: a double boiler (or a metal bowl over a sauce pan), a piping bag (or a ziploc bag), chocolate molds (Dixie cups and ice cube trays work just as well),  a wooden spoon (or whisk, I quickly abandoned my spoon for the whisk. Use what works best for you!), and sticks (wooden dowels, lollipop sticks, popsicle sticks, candy canes, cinnamon sticks, whatever!).


  • 8 oz high-quality chocolate, between 60 to 72% cocoa. Do not skimp on the chocolate. I used Guittard and it was amazing.
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt

Set up your molds and have your sticks handy.

Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Please do not skip this step. Sift. Please sift. Then set aside.

Gently melt chocolate in a double boiler until about 2/3 of the chocolate is melted and a few solid pieces remain.

Take off heat and add the powdered sugar mixture. Stir, stir, stir. It will be very, very thick, like frosting. If it looks like a big old gritty mess, just keep stirring; it should smooth out soon enough. The final product will be smooth and very glossy and shiny. Immediately transfer to the pastry bag and pipe into your molds. You want 1 oz of chocolate in each mold. If you have a kitchen scale it is immensely valuable here. If not, try to split the chocolate evenly between 8-10 molds. Add a stick and let it harden–usually I give it about 2 hours to be safe, though they are often set before then. (If you use candy canes for the sticks, you will need to prop them up. After much trial and error and an awful lot of swearing I found that hooking them on a bowl worked best. Of course, I didn’t have a bowl that was the perfect height, so I supplemented by adding crumpled tinfoil around the rim). When chocolates are set, remove from molds. Hot Chocolate on a Stick will keep well for up to one year in an air-tight container. Do not store in the fridge or freezer.

Decorating (Optional):

I decided to dress mine up a little bit to make them extra-pretty. I bought some white candy melts and dipped the set chocolates into it and then either dipped them in colored sugar, or applied chocolate transfer sheets (the plaid decorations you see in pictures). There are lots of great ways you can play with these. I already have some good ideas for future batches. Be creative, and pretty much anything goes.

To Serve:

Stir 1 stick into 1 cup (8 oz) of hot milk until melted. If feeling incredibly indulgent, top with homemade whipped cream. Enjoy!


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that a joyous New Year’s Eve awaits you. May 2011 bring you health and happiness.

Much, much love.


Posted by on December 26, 2010 in Food

yeah, you make me merry–make me very, very happy


Every January I make the same resolution: “I shall learn to make button holes, and attend to my parts of speech.” A few among you may recognize that heroic declaration as belonging to Miss Amy March and appearing in chapter eleven of LITTLE WOMEN (one of my all-time favorite re-reads). My parts of speech are rather well attended, in my opinion (although it’s true that I don’t know how to make button holes), but I like having this little bon mot ready whenever someone inevitably asks what my resolutions will be on any given year.

I don’t like to make proper resolutions. They always seem trite and insurmountable. But of course there are things that I’d like to change or accomplish within the next year or more.

There are the obvious things, such as being financially stable and landing a full-time job that I enjoy. I’d of course like to be healthier and use my time wisely and take ballroom dance classes like I’ve sworn I would since 2005.


But mostly, it’s the little things I truly want to master in 2010. I want to learn to accept compliments with grace. To let go of that which truly does not matter. To be sure that the people in my life know how much I love and appreciate them. To be kinder to myself. To embrace new challenges sincerely and openly. To lift the restrictions I place upon myself and to become an active, courageous participant in the story of my own life.

I want to take steps toward becoming my best self with each passing year.







2009 is the year I left behind an established career that I loved, the city that forced me to grow up, and my best friends and family, and moved to the middle of nowhere (sorry, but it’s true) for the love of my life and our future together. And that was just the tail end of the year!

I also baked bread for the first time in 2009, which quickly became a habit. I joined yet another writers group and still didn’t get any closer to finishing my novel. I had a gym membership and actually, you know, went to the gym. Some of the time, anyway. I visited Chicago and Minnesota, attended the wedding of one of my dearest friends, purchased and wore rain boots, discovered a favorite cocktail, paid forward all the good will (and couch surfing) that was given to me upon my arrival in New York so many years ago, ate Ethiopian food for the first time, saw my first real shooting star, ate at the 21 Club, and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.


I can only hope that each coming year is better than the last. And with the way things are going, it looks like 2010 will be.

I love and miss you all! I wish you health and happiness in 2010!


Posted by on January 6, 2010 in Personal