This year I teamed up with my good friend Chris from Well & Good to make Hot Chocolate Dippers. I saw them at Anthropologie for $6.00 each and I figured I could make those!
Below are links to what we used. It's not necessary to get a caramel loaf, but it's easier than unwrapping a bag of individually wrapped caramels. I used about 1/4 of the loaf for 60 dippers. I melted the rest of the caramel for another recipe and some caramel apples. So it has plenty of uses. Also, Chris and I did three batches of dippers (two batches were salted caramel, one batch was peppermint = 180 dippers total!), so we went through about a 1/2 loaf by the end of this project.
A word on chocolate. I'm not a master baker, but every time I've bought the chocolate listed below, all has gone very well. I love it. It's smooth and so so yummy.
About the trays. We searched and searched for trays that looked like the same size as the dippers I saw in the store. I liked these because they weren't tapered but completely square. About 1.25"x1.25". After trying out the dippers, this size works great with a small mug of milk. If you have larger ice cube trays, expect to use more milk, or have extremely rich hot chocolate. Also, I've only tried this with silicone. It's tricky to get the first one out, but once that's out, they'll all come out easily. An old hard plastic tray???? Who even knows.
Silicone Ice Cube Trays
Wood Coffee Sirrers
Clear Cello Bags - Singles (2.5"x6") Duos (3.5"x2"x7.5")
Tags - See below for FREE PRINTABLES
*Optional - Plates ($1 section at Target) and doilies
Makes 60 Chocolate Dippers (using four trays of 15 each)
5lb bag of Guittard Milk Chocolate A'Peels
Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
*Optional (and extremely tasty) - Peppermint flavoring oil
Peppermint Candy Canes - Mini's, thick... they all work.
1. Wash each silicone tray and lightly spray with Pam. LIGHTLY.
2. Cut 1/4 of the caramel loaf off and place it on a sheet of wax paper. Slice it into .75" thick pieces. Then cube it into about .75"x.75", you can round them to a ball or keep them flat.
3. Put sticks into 15 of the caramels (enough to load one tray at a time)
4. In a large pot melt about 1/4 of your 5lb bag of chocolate on low. I start at 3-low for a few minutes before I add them, then move the dial between 3 and 2. Stir occasionally. Once melted, pour the chocolate into a squeeze bottle. This will save on the mess!
5. Pour in another 1/4 of the chocolate and stir until the new bits are coated with whatever is left in the pot.
6. Squeeze a bit of chocolate into each spot of ONE tray.
7. Place the caramels with sticks in them into each spot in the tray
8. Check on the chocolate occasionally, stir. You don't want any crumbling or bubbling = too hot. It should be smooth. It's a steady slow heat.
9. Start to add chocolate and fill each of the spots in the tray. You'll probably run out of chocolate in your squeeze bottle, but that's ok, the chocolate in the pot should be melted by now. Reload your squeeze bottle and finish the TRAY 1.
10. Repeat this process for the other two trays.
11. After each tray is completely filled put them into the refrigerator. It's ok to keep them in overnight, but I've found that about 2 hours in the fridge is perfect.
12. After about 20 minutes, you can add some sea salt to the top. Do a bit on one, see if the salt melts in, if so, wait a few more minutes. You want it to be tacky so the salt sticks, but not so hot that it melts in because the salt is pretty.
13. It's nice to have sticks that stand upright, so check on them occasionally, move them back into place.
* If you want some Peppermint Dippers, no need for the caramel. On your next load of chocolate, add a few drops of Peppermint flavoring oil. The sticks will have a tougher time standing up on their own, you can put a mini candy cane in upside down and let the stick and candy prop each other up, or you can get fatter candy canes and break them down to about 2" pieces. I like the finished rounded edge sticking out the best. You can also add crushed candy cane to the tops after about 15 minutes or so (see #12).
14. Once cooled (I think 2 hours is optimal, but overnight is ok) it's time to take them out of the trays. Let them sit about 5 minutes, put down some wax paper.
15. Turn one tray upside down and work on one corner, trying to push out from the bottom and stretch the sides. Do so gently. As soon as you feel it giving way, turn it back over and push it out from the bottom.
16. With one out, you can get the others easily by pushing from the bottom, slightly twisting, pulling at the edges gently. Get them all out and place them onto the wax paper.
17. Dip each one into a bowl of Cocoa powder and tap off any excess. This is mostly to coverup any odd swirling that may have happened while cooling. It looks nice to have them coated slightly in the powder.
18. If needed, you can top each of the caramel dippers with a bit more salt before putting them in their baggies.
19. Print off and cut the tags. Load the dippers either 1 per singles bag (2.5"x6"), or 2 per duo bag (3.5"x2"x7.5"). With the wider bags, I use the folded card and string through the top with ribbon. The individuals get a bit of ribbon cinched around the bag and then a tag on each one. FREE PRINTABLE TAGS are below.
Merry Christmas Gifting! xoxo
Print these on 8.5"x11" Cardstock (q4 Cards) and fold at the center line then punch a hole.
This will provide How-To instructions without having to print front-to-back.
Print these on 8.5"x11" Cardstock (q12 Cards) and cut out each individually.
These do not have How-To instructions. But offer some various mug options.
Print these 8.5"x11" Cardstock (q4 Cards) and cut at the center vertical line then again at the center horizontal line. Then fold at the center line for each card.
These are for packaged sets of two, one Salted Caramel and one Peppermint.