Welcome back to Christmas Week! Today's theme is Peppermint Surprise, which was a bit of a challenge - truth is, I'm not that big of a fan of straight-up peppermint in sweets and desserts.
However, when you combine peppermint with chocolate, you get one of my very favourite seasonal flavours.
(Why yes, I am weird and contrary sometimes, though I prefer to believe it just means that I am a complex individual with discriminating tastes. So there.)
When I was trying to come up with an idea for today's theme, I happened to have a serious hankering for hot chocolate, which got me to thinking... why not jazz up my usual hot chocolate recipe with a minty syrup?
And then I happened to be watching TV and saw an ad for a peppermint mocha, which prompted me to wonder if I could make my minty hot chocolate even better by adding a shot or two of strong espresso.
The answer to both of those questions, in case you're wondering, is an absolute and unequivocal yes.
While a regular hot chocolate is a wonderful treat on a cold winter evening, this version takes it one step further by enhancing the rich chocolate flavour with a tingly hint of mint and a hit of caffeine to help you power through a packed holiday schedule of shopping, gift wrapping, party hopping and whatever else it is you've got going on.
BTW, this recipe makes more peppermint syrup than you'll need for just the one recipe, so that you can keep the leftovers on hand whenever the craving strikes. It'll keep in the refrigerator for about a month, but I predict it'll be gone long before that.
Believe me, you'll be thankful to have it kicking around when you get home after a particularly exhausting shopping expedition and want to crash on the couch with something warm and comforting and caffeinated!
This is a perfect drink for kicking back and relaxing during the holidays - soothing, chocolatey and belly-warming with a shot of caffeine to revive you for the next round of gift-wrapping, holiday shopping or kid wrangling. For the kidlets, simply omit the espresso and you've got yourself a Candy Cane Hot Chocolate instead.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp peppermint extract
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp instant espresso powder (or 4 shots fresh-brewed espresso)
- Whipped cream
- Crushed candy cane
- Chocolate shavings
Prepare the Syrup (up to 1 week in advance):
- In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then stir in peppermint extract and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to a container. Syrup will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Prepare the Mocha (at the last minute):
- In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, whisk together milk, cream and sugar until the mixture reaches a simmer. Remove from heat immediately. Add chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso and ¼ cup of peppermint syrup, and whisk until smooth.
- To serve, divide the hot mocha evenly between four cups, then garnish as desired.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Category: Beverage
Welcome to day #2 of Christmas Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina. Today’s theme for Christmas Week is “Peppermint Surprise”. Make sure you visit all the participating bloggers today to see what special dish they whipped up for you:
- Peppermint Marshmallows from Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic
- Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies from Jen of Juanita’s Cocina
- Candy Cane Blossoms from Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Candy Cane Cocoa in a Jar from Anuradha of Baker Street
- Peppermint Brownie Trifle from Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
- Candy Cane Mocha from Isabelle of Crumb
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Erin of Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
- White Chocolate Peppermint Covered Pretzels from Erin of Spiffy Cookie