Hot Chocolate Stir Sticks

by Tokyo Terrace on November 28, 2011

Two years ago, for our first Christmas in Tokyo, my thoughtful husband did everything he could to make me feel at home. I had a really difficult time not being in Minnesota with my family and he knew that I was struggling a bit. Fortunately, Christmas in Tokyo is just as festive as Minnesota, if not more so, minus the snow of course.  One of the things Brad got to keep me in the holiday spirit was a sampling of hot chocolate stir sticks.They were simply blocks of chocolate at the end of wooden sticks. I don’t know where I had been, but I had never seen these before and I was so excited to give them a try! They reminded me of an Argentine Submarino (Argentine hot chocolate) that we enjoyed in Buenos Aires a few years ago. It’s hard to find anything more fitting for hot milk than a big hunk of chocolate that slowly melts, creating a rich, comforting mug of wonderfulness.

Two years after the idea entered my mind, I finally got around to making my own hot chocolate stir sticks. I wanted to try some new flavors that I hadn’t seen before, so I used what I had in my pantry cabinet to add a little flare to the dark chocolate base for the sticks. One clear option was the addition of matcha powder to the chocolate. After all, what is Tokyo Terrace without a little Japanese twist, right? I also made an almond and pink sea salt stir stick, and another with warm, spicy cinnamon.

There are so many options for creative flavor combinations- you could even make the sticks a little bigger and add mini marshmallows if you wanted to! Crushed peppermint candy is another classic addition. These stir sticks also makes very nice Christmas or hostess gifts. All you need is an ice-cube tray, some chocolate chips, and perhaps something to dress them up- a ribbon to tie at the top of the stick, or a sprinkling of powdered sugar to make them look pretty. These are easy to make in large batches, so you can get a bunch of gifts taken care of easily!

Hot Chocolate Stir Sticks

Makes about 12-16 stir sticks

I’m providing the basic recipe for you below without the addition of other flavors. If you’d like to add your own creative twist to the basic recipe, it’s relatively simple. If you are using almond extract or peppermint extract, go with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for 4 cups of chocolate chips. If you are using something like cinnamon or other dried spices, add a little at a time and taste it to make sure it is acceptable for your palate. Keep in mind, however, that these will be slightly mellowed out in flavor when they are added to the hot milk. If you use sea salt, a sprinkling on the top of the chocolate is plenty for some, but if the salt is particularly mild, you may want to add a touch to the melted chocolate as well.

Ingredients:

4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

Materials:

Bamboo skewers or craft sticks

piping bag or ziplock

ice cube tray

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. With the microwave on its lowest setting, microwave the chips for 30-45 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. Continue doing this in about 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until the chocolate chips are almost completely melted. There should still be a couple lumps left- just stir everything together and they should disappear. If they don’t, place the bowl back in the microwave for about 10 seconds. When the chocolate is completely melted, stir in the cocoa powder.

Let the chocolate sit for 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer the melted chocolate to a piping bag or ziplock. If you are using a ziplock, clip the bottom corner of the bag with scissors. Pipe the chocolate into your ice cube tray. Use a small spoon to smooth the top of the chocolate. Insert the stir sticks and allow to sit (at room temperature is best) until the chocolate sets. If you notice imperfections in the finished product, melt more chocolate (I like to make a creamy ganache by adding about a tablespoon of cream to 1 cup of chocolate chips) and dip the stir sticks to create a nice outer layer. Allow them to cool on wax or parchment paper. This is also a great time to add your garnishes- crushed peppermint, sea salt, etc. If you adding cinnamon or powdered sugar, the chocolate will need to be nearly cooled so that the powder doesn’t dissolve.

For the hot chocolate:

Heat 6 oz. of milk in a small saucepan or gently in the microwave. When the milk is hot (not boiling, just letting off a nice steam) transfer it to a mug. Stir with your hot chocolate stir stick until the chocolate has completely melted and sip away!

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  • http://www.sandraseasycooking.com/ Sandra’s Easy Cooking

    This sounds incredibly tasty! I love how those chocolate stir sticks look! Recipe is a keeper for sure! Have a happy Holiday season!!!

  • Tracey@Tangled Noodle

    I just saw these at a food gifts Christmas bazaar yesterday – they were about $4 a pop!! Thank you so much for posting your recipe so that I can make these fabulous stocking stuffers. The only thing missing about having a mug of hot chocolate here in Manila is about 6 inches of snow outside!

  • http://profiles.google.com/thetammyjo TammyJo Eckhart, PhD

    I’ve never heard of these before. Thank you for introducing me to them!

  • Sue Epstein

    Before I make them I’m wondering if they come out of the ice trays easily or is there some trick to it?

  • http://www.thesweetsensations.com Sandra

    This is fantastic and different. Congratulations on Top 9!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Sue! Great question- they are no problem to pop out of the ice tray. If any of them seem slightly stuck, just use the craft stick to gently wiggle the chocolate loose and you should be a-OK! 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Sandra!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, they are kind of expensive when purchased individually- this is a much more economical choice, especially if you need a bunch. And they are so easy, there is no reason not to give them a try! I hope you are able to find the holiday spirit even with the warm weather in Manila! 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you! Happy Holidays to you as well!

  • http://healthyfoodietravels.wordpress.com/ Kiri W.

    Oh my, these look absolutely to die for! I love the dusting on the outside, too :)
    Great pictures – congrats on top 9!

  • http://localme.tumblr.com Jay @ Local Me

    This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://profiles.google.com/clkohan Cheryl Kohan

    I love this idea and I’m going to make these, for sure! I also think they’d be great in a cup of hot coffee with cream.  Especially with a chocolate/cinnamon stir stick.  Brilliant!  Yum.

  • http://mjskitchen.com Mjskit

    These are fantastic!  I’ve never heard of them but will definitely be making them sometime this winter.  Maybe the weekend since we’re suppose to get a snow storm.  It looks so easy and absolutely delicious!

  • Carolinagirlcooks

    These look amazing!  What a wonderful and different creation.  Cheers!

  • Tinklover0409

    I am so making these as Christmas gifts!

  • Ashley Barrineau

    Hello, any idea on the shelf life for these? Especially to give as gifts? Thanks!

  • Mandy

    These look delicious! 
    X Mandy

    http://mandykoster.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.sixteenbeans.com kyleen

    These are amazing! I love how you garnished each of the stir sticks–so pretty! I’m actually quite the hot chocolate fan myself. I’ll definitely be making these.

    One question, how long do these sticks last? I assume that they would last longer without the ganache and that the ganache-covered ones would have to be stored in the fridge.

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