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.
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).
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.