A Sweeter Holiday Cheer

Hot Chocolate

Our Christmas joy is simpler than most households. Gifts are immediately purchased from online businesses that take forever to deliver, and now a third of my gift list is done. The rest of the list will finish in another week. Maybe, I’ll bring homemade goodies to my job and as gifts to others. We won’t buy a gigantic holiday tree. A trip to the florist for a few pine branches to place in a vase and decorate with ornaments is festive enough and easier to clean in January.

CAMBA's Park Slope Women's Shelter Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
CAMBA’s Park Slope Women’s Shelter Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

We’re excited about the holiday festivities around us. Such as CAMBA’s Park Slope Women’s Shelter Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The staff and residents decorate the whole building with holiday lights and celebrate with community choirs, cookies, hot chocolate and candy.

Some of the candy, such as the Peppermint Choco Chews were donated from TruJoy Sweets. It’s an organic candy company specializing in remaking your favorite classic sweets, such as gummies, jelly beans, sour candies, and watermelon and peach rings. For the holidays, they sell candy canes and peppermint choco chews (a twist of tootsie rolls).

Hot Chocolate Ingredients

Melting chocolate over a double boiler.
Melting chocolate over a double boiler.

Even with all the candy served during the holidays, it’s the hot chocolate that makes it special. I remember when our parents wouldn’t let us come downstairs to see the gifts under the tree. As we waited from the edge of the stairs, Dad came upstairs with two mugs of hot chocolate and peppermint sticks. The waiting wasn’t so painful as we slurped our hot chocolate.

The recipe below for hot chocolate is a tad more complex than adding powdered mix to water or milk. I prefer whisking milk into melted chocolate over a double boiler. Since the chocolate chips are sweet, don’t add more sugar, or other types of sweeteners (sugar is still sugar, no matter how natural it is). But, I do recommend finishing your hot chocolate with a hint of cream. The creaminess is what separates this recipe from powdered hot chocolate. Adding a candy cane provides a subtle peppermint flavor that reminds me of waiting on the stairs as a child for Christmas to begin.

There are more gifts to buy, tree lighting parties to attend and caroling to do (I’m a silent hummer, because I wasn’t gifted with a singing voice). We’ll be there with our personal mugs of hot chocolate and TruJoy Sweets Candies.

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Makes 1 serving.


  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. or 4 oz. of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup whole milk dairy + 1 tsp. of vanilla extract or unsweetened, vanilla flavored nut milk
  • (Optional) 2 tbsp. half and half or cream
  • Garnish: Marshmallows and TruJoy Sweets Candy Cane


  1. Fill a small to medium saucepan a quarter full with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Place a metal bowl over the saucepan and place chocolate chips in the bowl.
  3. After about 30 seconds to about one minute, the chocolate chips will start to melt. Whisk the chocolate chips until its a smooth sauce.
  4. Whisk in the milk over the chocolate sauce.
  5. When the milk is hot (Do not boil the milk!), stir in the half and half or cream. If using dairy milk, stir in the vanilla.
  6. Pour hot chocolate in a mug. Garnish with a candy cane and a marshmallow.
  7. Cheers.

TruJoy Sweets Peppermint Choco Chews