hot chocolate hearts

I am not a coffee drinker. My grandmother still asks me how I managed to go to college and not take up drinking coffee. My true love is hot chocolate. I buy my favorite mix, Nestle Rich Milk Chocolate, by the canister and go through several each winter.

Nothing gets better, though, than making hot chocolate from melted blocks of chocolate in hot milk. I found a recipe for Hot Chocolate on a Stick by AmberLee at Giver's Log on Pinterest over a year ago. I made some heart-shaped ones last year around Valentine's Day. They were so good, I had to make them again. My husband and I had a wonderful time melting and tasting chocolate while being snowed in last weekend.

AmberLee's tutorial is absolutely fantastic, so please check out her blog for the instructions. She gives plenty of options as to what works well, so I'll just add some personal anecdotes here as to what I personally did.

I got the molds from the Target Dollar Spot last year. They must've been popular, because they have them again this year! Adding sticks would've been awkward, so I just didn't use any. Just drop the heart(s) into the hot milk and stir with a spoon instead.

I used Ghirardelli chocolate baking bars (rather than the chocolate in the candy aisle), because it was sold in 4oz (rather than 3.5 oz) blocks. (The recipe calls for 8 oz of chocolate.) I made 2 batches - one batch with dark chocolate and another with semi-sweet.

I topped the hearts with drizzles of melted white chocolate, also from the baking section. I melted all 6 oz, but used only a small fraction of that (2 oz or so?). I poured the extra melted chocolate into molds to re-harden for later use.

Cocoa & Powdered Sugar:
I used the cheap Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa, because it's what I had on hand. The recipe says to use 3-4 Tbsp; I used 3 Tbsp. As for the powdered sugar, the recipe calls for 6-8 Tbsp; I used 8 Tbsp, which is 1/2 cup.

Melting the Chocolate:
I don't have a candy thermometer. I just tried to keep the water in the saucepan below over low to medium heat, and I exercised some patience. The chocolate on top was shiny, but the chocolate that touched the molds developed a dull appearance (presumably due to the mold's texture?). Because I didn't use sticks, I couldn't dip them again to give them a shiny surface. Hence, the white chocolate drizzles.

Cooling the Chocolate:
I covered the molds with foil and put them outside. They set up in 20-25 minutes in the frigid cold.

I got roughly 20 hearts per batch. At 2 hearts per mug, that's 10 mugs of hot chocolate per batch.

Enjoying the Hot Chocolate:
Add 2 hearts to 8 oz of hot milk. Stir until completely melted. Enjoy!

Gifting the Hot Chocolate:
I put the hearts in festive treat bags from the Dollar Tree. I printed up some business card-sized instructions and fastened them to the bags with twisty ties (included with the bags).

You might also like to see my other Valentine's Day projects.

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