One of my favourite treats is hot chocolate, and in cold, wet, windy weather (which we unfortunately frequently have in Ireland), hot chocolate is just the thing to perk me up. I usually have my hot chocolate plain, but over Christmas I decided to spike mine with a shot of baileys and add a spoon of brandy cream on top.
The perfect hot chocolate is made with real chocolate, so don’t bother making this with the instant hot chocolate powder. I get hot chocolate kits from O’Conaill’s chocolatiers in Cork that has a bag of cocoa and a bag of chocolate drops. But if you have a tub of cocoa powder, just buy a bar of good chocolate and chop it into little chunks. The flavour, thickness and quality is a thousand times better than hot chocolate powder or granules.
I know it’s January and most people are on juice diets etc, but for those people who are still enjoying a comforting treat in this wet, windy weather, give this a go. It’s delicious.
Ingredients (serves four):
1 litre full fat milk
100ml Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur (or more according to taste… I usually add a good dash per mug)
4 tbsp cocoa
100g chocolate drops/ chopped chocolate
1/3 cup cream
2 tbsp Hennessy Brandy (or more to taste- you could also use whisky)
1 tbsp icing sugar/confectioners sugar
Whip the cream and stir in the brandy and icing sugar. Add a little more brandy if it needs a little kick.
Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed pot and add in the cocoa, whisk it continuously on a medium heat for a few minutes and then add the chocolate pieces, keep stirring until melted. When the hot chocolate is hot enough (don’t let it reach boiling point), add the Baileys, just a minute before serving (you don’t want the alcohol to burn off).
Serve the hot chocolate into the mugs and top with a spoon of the brandy cream. You could sprinkle a little more cocoa on top for effect.
Sometimes you just need a sweet treat and a couch night, and this recipe combo is just the ticket! I stumbled across this recipe in the Sunday Times as a teenager and have been making it every now and then since. My Dad is a bit of shortbread fiend. Shortbread and a cup of tea (Barry’s of course!) and he is happy, so that was why I made it originally but I have loved it ever since. This recipe is much nicer than the shop bought stuff and it lasts about 5-7 days in an airtight container.
The last time I made it, I decided to be very indulgent and make a hot chocolate from O’Conaill Chocolates in Cork to go with it. O’Conaill Chocolates is amazing, I started going there in school with a friend before our French grinds and it quickly became a weekly ritual! Not only is their handmade chocolate melted down with fresh creamy milk to make their famous hot chocolate, you can also add praline, orange oil, white chocolate… the list is endless and it really is like nothing you’ve ever tried before! You can also buy beautiful chocolate fudge, tiffin, brownies, cakes and more recently chocolate cake pops! It is soooo worth a visit if you are in Cork. My sister gifted me with a hot chocolate set from there, but if you aren’t from Cork you can do the same with any good quality chocolate.
It’s a delicious but heavy combo, so not recommended after a big meal!
Pistachio Shortbread Ingredients:
90g caster sugar
240g butter softened
360g plain flour
¼ tsp sea salt
75g pistachios chopped (you can use a hand blender for a few seconds to chop- this will make some nuts powdery but some chunky which gives a nice texture & taste throughout)
Preheat oven to 165C.
Cream up sugar & butter until light and fluffy.
Beat in flour and salt
Add in nuts until just combined.
Remove dough from from bowl and shape in to two rectangular logs.
Chill for 30mins.
Brush cold logs with a few drops of water, sprinkle with caster sugar and then slice the logs in to 1cm biscuits & place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Leave space between biscuits to bake evenly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (they should remain pale in colour)
Let cool on wire rack.
Hot Chocolate Ingredients:
One glass of milk
One heaped teaspoon cocoa (I used from O’Conaill’s kit)
Two tablespoons of O’Conaill’s chocolate drops (mine were a mix of white, milk & dark chocolate- any good quality chocolate chopped up would work well though)
Mix cocoa with 2 tbsp milk in a saucepan until it forms a paste. Stir in rest of milk, and turn on the hob to a medium heat. Add in chocolate until melted. Enjoy!