Thursday, 5 November 2015

Bonfire Night Mulled Hot Chocolate

I love Bonfire Night! There really is something special about gathering round in the (often drizzly) cold evening, while being warmed by a roaring bonfire and drinking hot chocolate or mulled wine. The childhood memories attached to Bonfire Night are immense!

I grew up in Sussex, and boy do we take it seriously down there. From processions of burning martyr's crosses in Lewes to carnivals in Uckfield, Bonfire Night is a pretty big deal. One thing I've never gotten used to in Oxfordshire is the lack of processions at this time of year!

Here in Oxfordshire, we usually go to a couple of local village displays rather than the bigger displays, so we can get close to a bonfire and see people we know. One thing that always amazes me is how impressive the fireworks are, they usually go all out! Watching them while sharing a flask of warm hot chocolate together is pretty awesome.

Since we don't eat refined sugar or dairy, we are used to bringing our own drinks, and this year I've been unable to decide whether to bring mulled wine or hot chocolate. In a flash of inspiration I decided to blend the two, and created a delicious mulled hot chocolate- a winning combo that is rich and chocolatey with all the flavour of the mulled spices while being alcohol free! Perfect for the whole family.

My favourite chocolate to use in drinks is Hasslacher’s. It is amazing quality pure, dark, roasted and unsweetened chocolate, that comes as a block, flakes or little disks. It is easy to find now, our local Saisnburys has it as well as our local heath store. I really recommend you search it out, but if you can't find it, use a good quality cocoa powder instead.

Mulled Hot Chocolate
Serves 2

4 squares of Hasslacher’s chocolate
600ml almond milk
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1/2 orange sliced
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick or quarter tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 bay leaves
2 star anise
1/2 vanilla pod, split down the middle
A few grates of nutmeg

Melt the chocolate in a pan on a gentle heat. When melted,  whisk in the milk. Bring the heat to a rapid simmer and add the rest of the ingredients. Reduce heat to a low simmer for 5-8 minutes, whisking to stop it catching at the bottom. Remove from heat, strain out the spices and serve warm.

 Photo bombed by Gink our kitten!

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