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  1. Thursday, April 17

    Lindt Hot Chocolate – Super Easy and Super Delish!

    Okay, I know it’s Spring and everyone is thinking about carrot cake and lemonade. But my friend Nikki CB shared the coolest tip for easy hot chocolate with me and now I need to share it with you, too. RIGHT NOW. So, today we’re having hot chocolate. Hopefully you’re experiencing unseasonably cold weather wherever you are so you can enjoy this recipe pronto!

    lindt hot chocolate - easy and delicious!  from @janemaynard

    Get ready for the yummiest easy hot chocolate you’ll ever have. No finely chopping chocolate with a knife necessary!

    lindt hot chocolate - easy and delicious!  from @janemaynard

    Nikki was saying how you can visit Lindt chocolate stores or something and they make hot chocolate simply by dropping Lindt truffles right into hot milk. That’s it. As soon as she said it I realized how genius it is. After all, that is some darn good chocolate. Also, think about how those truffles just melt in your mouth. If they melt in your mouth, you better believe they’ll melt in hot milk.

    lindt hot chocolate - easy and delicious!  from @janemaynard

    I finally tried the trick and it worked like a charm. The other fun part of Lindt hot chocolate is that you can easily make different flavors of hot chocolate. White hot chocolate, caramel hot chocolate, dark hot chocolate, extra dark hot chocolate, milk hot chocolate. Whatever your favorite truffle flavor is, now it can be your favorite hot chocolate flavor.

    lindt hot chocolate - easy and delicious!  from @janemaynard

    Thank you, Nikki. And you’re welcome, everyone else.

    (>> Find out more…)


  2. Wednesday, January 15

    Two Sweet Treats

    In December I had the chance to write a few pieces for the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas website. And then, once Christmas was over, the posts were gone! Two of the posts had some mighty fine recipes, so I just added them to the Babble website so they can still be accessible.

    polar express hot chocolate from @janemaynard

    The first, hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars. You know, like in The Polar Express. The dreamy, wonderful hot cocoa we all imagined as kids!

    lemon cream cheese sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    The second is a super simple cookie recipe that is SO GOOD. You definitely want to add this one to your recipe box – Lemon Cream Cheese Cookie Sandwiches!

    Double yum!


  3. Tuesday, December 20

    Salgar ROCKS…and Recipe for Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

    I am so voting for Leslie Knope because she truly is a visionary. She is the brains behind salgar after all, which is nothing short of a revelation! Plus, salgar is going to save me a lot of $$$ that otherwise would have been spent at Starbucks.

    Let’s start at the beginning. I’m a little bit in love with the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Starbucks. However, there are two things wrong with this love affair. First, it costs me too much money. Second, they only serve the stuff during the holidays. I’ve kind of sort of half-heartedly tried to replicate it at home before, but never with much success. Probably because I wasn’t trying that hard.

    This year, things are different. Which brings me back to Leslie Knope. When she introduced the world to salgar last week, well, I knew that my days of whipping up salted caramel hot chocolate to rival Starbucks’ had finally arrived. And I was right.

    For those of you who don’t watch Parks & Rec (p.s. you should be), salgar is simply sugar and salt mixed together. Sure, everyone thought Leslie was crazy, but I’m a believer.

    Which brings us back to the quest for the perfect salted caramel hot chocolate recipe. On Sunday I pulled all my ingredients together. Yummy hot chocolate. Perfect whipped cream. Caramel sauce. Salgar.

    I nailed it. And I might even be so brave as to say that it’s better than Starbucks. The best part? When the whipped cream and salgar topping are gone but you still have hot chocolate left, you can just throw a little more cream and salgar on top! For some reason Starbucks doesn’t let you go back for seconds. Who needs them? 😉

    Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
     
    From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Hot chocolate (whatever kind you like…but make sure it’s not flavored with cinnamon or peppermint or anything like that…just something pure…my favorite is melting chopped chocolate in milk)
    • Salgar (see below)
    • Perfect whipped cream (click through for “recipe”)
    • Caramel sauce (the kind that’s made for going on/in drinks, I got mine at Starbucks, I’ve seen it at other stores, too)
    Instructions
    1. Make your hot chocolate and pour in a mug. Add a pinch or two of salgar and a swirl of caramel sauce. Stir well. Top with whipped cream, another swirl of caramel sauce and salgar. Drink and get ready to thank me for transporting you to hot chocolate heaven in the comfort of your own home.

    Salgar
     
    From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner, inspired by Leslie Knope
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar (i.e. sugar in the raw)
    • ½ teaspoon ground sea salt.
    Instructions
    1. Mix. Done and done.

     


  4. Tuesday, December 15

    Homemade Vanilla Hot Chocolate

    This year I decided our neighbor & teacher holiday gift would be homemade vanilla hot chocolate. I figured it would be easier than making and decorating oodles of cookies. I was wrong. Well, only because I QUADRUPLED the recipe. And ended up having to grind about 10 pounds of chocolate. With a Cuisiniart mini-prep. Yeah, it was a feat.

    homemade hot chocolate web

    BUT…the vanilla hot chocolate is delicious! And a fun, unique gift to give friends for the holidays! You’ll find the recipe at the bottom of this post.

    A few quick notes. I have a Cuisinart mini-prep, which is what I used to grind the chocolate. It works fine…but if you DO have a bigger food processor, use it!

    This is the recipe I used the vanilla beans for. I saved the sugar-coated bean pods after I was done making the vanilla sugar…I figure I can use them in other recipes, even though the seeds are gone.

    homemade hot chocolate preparation web

    If you plan on making TONS and TONS and TONS like I did…you’re going to need BIG bowls. I ended up having to use three giant bowls and mixing all the ingredients between the three bowls, trying to evenly distribute the ingredients by mixing and remixing the contents of each bowl.

    bowls web

    No matter what amount you make, be prepared to have chocolate coating your kitchen. Also, I wore a towel over my face because I was literally inhaling cocoa powder when mixing it all together. That all said, if you don’t double (or triple…or quadruple!) the recipe, you’re not going to run into any of these issues. 😉

    Here was the final product. Aren’t they cute? I used some free gift tag templates from HP with matching ribbon.

    jarred homemade hot chocolate web

    Homemade Vanilla Hot Chocolate
     
    From Epicurious, makes about 10 cups
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 4 cups granulated sugar
    • ½ vanilla bean, split crosswise (see tips, below)
    • 1½ pounds high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process (see tips, below)
    Instructions
    1. Place sugar in large bowl. Split half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into sugar, and add pod. Work seeds in with your fingers. Cover snugly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
    2. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate until finely ground.
    3. Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend.
    4. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
    5. To serve, Jane’s instructions: I heat 2 cups of milk over the stove and whisk in about ⅓ cup of the mix. You can also heat the milk in the microwave and it works…but the stove is a little better. If you like it richer, add more mix!
    Notes
    Jane Note: I used 16 oz mason jars and was able to put ~1¾ cups of mix in each jar. When I quadrupled the recipe, I filled 19 jars, plus a little left over.

    Tips:
    •Save the other half of the vanilla bean for another use, such as a second batch of vanilla sugar, which keeps indefinitely and can be used in baking, coffee, or simply to sprinkle on fruit or waffles.
    •Dutch process cocoa has been treated with an alkaline solution, which gives it a darker color and less bitter flavor and makes it dissolve more easily.

     


  5. Tuesday, December 23

    Vanilla Hot Chocolate Mix

    Need to warm up now that we’re in the dead of winter?

    Then hop to it and make this great vanilla hot chocolate mix!  Our friends the Neilsons brought this mix over the other night (we have been so spoiled this year by homemade yumminess from so many friends!).  Nate and I have had hot chocolate the last two nights. I’m considering NOT sharing with Cate.  Yeah, I’m a great mom, eh?

    Here’s the recipe, if you want to make it for friends…or yourself!

    Vanilla Hot Chocolate Mix
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 4 cups granulated sugar
    • ½ vanilla bean, split crosswise (see tips, below)
    • 1½ pounds high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process (see tips, below)
    Instructions
    1. Place sugar in large bowl. Split half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into sugar, and add pod. Work seeds in with your fingers. Cover snugly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
    2. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate until finely ground, using 4-second pulses. (Process in two batches if necessary.)
    3. Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend.
    4. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
    5. To serve:
    6. For each serving, heat 8 ounces milk in small saucepan over medium heat until scalded (or microwave 2½ minutes at full power). Whisk in ¼ to ⅓ cup mix. Serve with unsweetened softly whipped cream or marshmallows.
    Notes
    Tips:
    •Save the other half of the vanilla bean for another use, such as a second batch of vanilla sugar, which keeps indefinitely and can be used in baking, coffee, or simply to sprinkle on fruit or waffles.
    •Dutch process cocoa has been treated with an alkaline solution, which gives it a darker color and less bitter flavor and makes it dissolve more easily. Droste is a good brand.