Tag: Hot chocolate

The final sprint

Some years (every year) I have grand plans for home made gifts and decorations at Christmas. Rarely does this materialise in the lovely relaxed and whimsical way it looks in my head. Generally I end up covered in the contents of my baking cupboard feeling totally harassed by the number of hampers I’ve decided to make.

If you’re anything like me, or if you’re completely handmade/craft-phobic in the first place, this one is for you. Three super quick festive crafts to brighten up the house and fill up stockings at the last minute. You don’t need an ounce of artistic/baking ability for any of these. So no excuses.

#1: Cute Christmas bunting


You will need

String (I got this two colour spool from Tiger for £1)

Christmassy washi-tape


Step one

Cut a random length of tape and place the string in the middle. If you really want to punish yourself you can try and make them all the same length, but I really like them random and it’s much easier that way too.

For this step I cut loads and stuck them on the edge of the table so I had them ready and did them in batches so I wasn’t constantly cutting one then sticking it etc etc.


Step two

Fold over the wash tape and stick together. Again, I found it easier to do this step in bulk and then snip them in one go (see below).


Step three

Cut an upside-down ‘v’ shape into the end.



Step four

Hang them. 


#2: Twig decoration


You will need

Some twigs foraged from the nearest tree

White or cream spray paint

Fairy lights or decorations

Jug/vase/plant pot


Step one

Spray twigs.

Step two

Place in holder.

Step three



Just in case you want the tutorial, here’s how to make the candle holders in the photo.


#3: Hot chocolate stirrers

I saw one of these at the shops today, it was £3! These make a great little stocking filler, present topper-upper or gifts for the neighbours. Just swirl into hot milk for a luxury hot chocolate.


You will need

400g/ 14oz Milk chocolate

50g/ 1.5oz White chocolate

Condiment cups (if the closest McDonalds doesn’t have these you can buy them online, or use mini-muffin cases)

Mini mini marshmallows (these tiny fellows are from Waitrose)

Fudge pieces

Cake pop sticks

Edible glitter (optional)

(Makes 10-12. You need roughly 35g chocolate per cup so adjust the above to suit the number of hot chocolates you want to make).

For wrapping

Cellophane roll (available online or from craft shops)

Chrismassy ribbon or string


Step one

Chop the fudge into little chunks so that they’re roughly in proportion with the marshmallows.

Step two

Melt the chocolate slowly in the microwave and put into piping bags. You can temper it if you want, but given that you won’t see much of it, it might not be worthwhile. I go into a bit more detail as to how to temper chocolate here.


Step three

Fill cup to near the brim with milk chocolate. Add a little white and swirl in with a cocktail stick.

Place stick in and surround with fudge and marshmallows.

Leave to set.


Step four

Dust on a little glitter.


Step five

Wrap up. Cut a square of cellophane wrap and place cup in the centre, bring corners up to the middle and secure. I used a loom band to do this, you could use a small elastic band or go straight in with the ribbon/string.

Trim off the corners and ‘foof’.


Go on. There must be one spare you can treat yourself to?

Mrs Claus’ cocoa

It feels wonderful to be tucked up under a blanket when the wind is wailing and the rain is smashing against the window. But if you don’t have one of these in your hands, you’re missing a trick. Calorie counters, you might as well close your browser window…you are not welcome here.

Prepare your stomachs, this is for people who are serious about chocolate. A perfect treat for little elves to take a break from all the Christmas busy.


Things you need:

(Makes two large or three small cups)

300ml Double cream

350ml Full fat milk (2%)

70g Dark chocolate

50g Milk chocolate

Peppermint extract

Candy cane/mini marshmallows/sprinkles to decorate


Step one:

Chop chocolate finely. I find a bread knife works really well for this, as the serrated edge somehow stops chunks flying all over the place. Put aside in heatproof bowl.

Feel free to adjust the chocolate quantities to your taste. I am not only a chocolate addict but a huge sweet tooth, so I very much orientated the recipe to junkie level.


Step two and a bit:

Put 200ml of the cream, all of the milk, and the peppermint extract in a pan on the lowest heat. About 1/2 a teaspoon of peppermint extract will suffice, anyone particularly keen on mint can also whip some into the topping.

Speaking of topping, a little tip…my pot of cream was 300ml and also had a handy measuring gauge on the side. So I split 200ml into the pan, 100ml in a bowl and then used the pot to measure out the milk, simples. I got mine from Sainsbo’s, not sure if the other supermarkets do the same, but they should. Even if you don’t have this marker, just do it by sight, one third to two thirds. Use same principle for measuring the chocolate, this should be easy, no scales/measuring jugs allowed.

While the cream and milk are slowly heating, use a whisk (preferably electric – don’t burn and unnecessary calories now) to whip the remaining 100ml of cream until it thickens to a ‘dollop-on-top-of-a-hot-chocolate’ consistency.

Now, I didn’t get a photo of this but you need to heat the mixture until little bubbles cover the surface, and the steam sort of dances over it. You’ll know when you get there – I’m not mental. Make sure you stir regularly and try not to let it boil or burn. Be patient, it will pay off.

Step three:

Pour the hot crilk (cream+milk=crilk) onto the chopped chocolate. Stir quickly with hand whisk until all the chocolate is melted. Ladle into mugs.

The mixture should be hot enough, but if you have asbestos mouth, then you might want to pop in the microwave for 20 seconds, or preheat the mugs with boiling water first.


Step four:

It already looks (and tastes) super yummy at this stage, and personally I’m not usually one for whipped cream on my hot chocolate. BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS.

Divide the cream you whipped earlier onto your cocoa, and cover with mini marshmallows and sprinkles (mine were another Sainsbury’s buy), stick in a candy cane stirrer and prepare to enjoy.


(you’re welcome)