Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Creme De Menthe Hot Chocolate (Dairy, corn, gluten, peanut free)

There are times...well actually most times...where I use my family as taste testers and figure that if my husband likes something that's a definite score and if one of my children will try it I feel like I won a substantial award.

This, proudly, is one of those recipes.

It was wet, windy and VERY cold, and I remembered that the one thing that I always wanted when it was cold as a child was hot chocolate.  So, I decided I had to introduce my daughter to hot chocolate (um...yeah...she hasn't had it yet and she's 5...sue me).  Unfortunately one thing stopped me from doing the ready made powder from the store.  That darn corn allergy...well that and it just plain doesn't taste very good compared to making hot chocolate yourself.  Don't even get me started on the white specks that are called "marshmallows" in that stuff either *shudder*.  And, of course, there's the peanut allergy in the household we have to worry about.

There is also the fact that traditional hot chocolate and I tend to not get along.  All that cow dairy just makes my stomach not love me at all.  And honestly I'm not really a "chocolate" type of person unless there's some flavoring involved (although I've found that I love me squares of dark chocolate on occasion now after having children...go figure).  So, I wanted to make the hot chocolate friendly to ME as well.

So, I came up with this recipe and it is rich, creamy and just wonderful. 

Now, just to warn you this recipe calls for Creme De Menthe candy flavoring (I get mine in a package with like 3 other candy flavorings in Michael's candy making section).  Instead of your traditional extracts that are made with alcohol, actual candy flavorings are made with essential oils placed in a carrier oil to raise their evaporation point. 

What does that mean?  A little goes a long way. 

If you are allergic to soy, however, I'd just go with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract (pure to avoid corn, of course) and 1/4 tsp. spearmint extract as you don't know what the carrier oils in candy flavorings might carry with them (I've seen some of them just labeled with "vegetable oil" for a carrier oil and there are out and out some that are carried in soybean oil). 

Or, if you have food grade essential oils you can use 5 drops of peppermint oil and 3 drops of spearmint oil (estimated since I don't have food grade essential oils to try this with right now.  Just add a few drops, taste and repeat until the flavor is where you want it to be).

So, here you go folks.  A creamy, rich, wonderful hot chocolate that'll stick to your bones, ward off the chill, is sophisticated enough for a grown up palette and is thick and chocolatey enough for any child to love.

Creme De Menthe Hot Chocolate (Dairy, corn, gluten, nut free)
  • 3 Cups Vanilla flavored Coconut Milk (I used Silk brand.  Be sure yours contains guar gum and not xanthum gum for the sake of corn allergies)
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbs. Arrowroot starch (you can omit if you don't mind it being a bit thinner)
  • 1 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (the mini ones)
  • 1/4 tsp. Creme De Menthe Candy Flavoring Oil

1.  Whisk coconut milk, maple syrup and starch (if using) in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat.

2.  When milk is bubbling, turn off heat and add chocolate chips.  Stir to combine the chips into the milk.  Stop and wait 30 seconds or so and then whisk the chocolate mixture (it gives the chips time to melt). 
3.  Once chocolate chips are well combined and the mixture looks...well like hot chocolate...add flavoring oil (or 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract can be used in it's place OR 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract and 1/4 tsp. spearmint extract) and whisk into mixture.  Stir for about 10 seconds or so (it allows the flavors to meld).  Consume with yum sounds (and by the way, mint leaves dipped in the hot chocolate...raises the nirvana to the next level.  Hot, sweet awesomeness!).

This mixture will thicken as it sits, so if it gets a little too thick for your liking (although cooled down and thickened up this stuff makes a great chocolate sauce to pour over ice cream) just add some water to thin it out and reheat.  Yum!!!

Serve nice and piping hot.


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