I mentioned that the tree had made an appearance at our home not too long ago just the other day. Since the moment it walked in through the door and found a place to rest in the living room, Kola Nut has been asking every. five. minutes. to put the ornaments on. So, naturally, we made him wait until we were all there together. He got over the waiting when he remembered that tree decoration and ornaments came in tandem with candy canes and marshmallows in hot chocolate. Even better? A foot or so of snow falling outside to accompany the Christmas music.
We like to decorate the tree after all our other responsibilities have been taken care of. Dinner has been consumed, dishes cleaned and put away. The toys from the day have found their bins and baskets, and pajamas find the kids’ bodies. While they busy about doing that, I head to the kitchen to start making hot chocolate.
In the pan on the left I place the chocolate. These are Ghirardelli 72% Cacao wafers and a few blocks of Bakers because I’d opened the bag to the wafers and was a bit shy. I could use a stainless steel bowl here, but mine are all pretty large, so I decided the saucepan was a more appropriate size.
And in the saucepan to the right I place the cream.
Over medium heat, bring it to a boil. (Excuse the sorry attempt to capture that moment in picture form. I had about half a second to get it right.)
Then pour the hot cream into the chocolate.
And stir until it is all melted.
I’m using peppermint schnapps to my chocolate. You could use a smaller amount of peppermint extract as well because the alcohol content is higher and more concentrated peppermint flavor. (See recipe.)
Stir until it’s all one smooth consistency.
In the saucepan I used for the cream I start heating 3 cups of milk and a generous 2 tablespoons of sugar while stirring.
And when it is hot and steamy, I add in about 1/3 cup of the chocolate ganache.
Continue heating and whisk together so it’s nice and frothy until 175 degrees.
The candy cane melts into the chocolate to give it a bit more peppermint presence. The marshmallows? They were requested by my children. For the kids I added a bit more milk from the fridge to cool down their cups. To Ole’s and my own? Peppermint schnapps.
And then we go about the drinking of chocolate, the practicing of Christmas program parts and the decorating of the tree. The kiids are excited and bubbly, and mom and dad have a short break in the busyness of the everyday to enjoy the simple things.
As for the extra ganache? Let it cool for a few hours before packaging it up into an airtight container. We’ll be making truffles here, but you can whip it into a frosting for your favorite cake or make hot chocolate in minutes by adding it to a cup of warm milk with a bit of sugar.