Lindt Chocolate Hot Chocolate Bar.
Trashed up hot chocolate. It’s the way to go.
And it’s hot chocolate season… so we’re doing it. We’re doing THIS.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend almost a week in New Hampshire and Boston with Lindt chocolate, visiting their corporate offices and basically getting elbow-deep in cocoa for days. I’ve never eaten more chocolate in my LIFE. Seriously.
It was insanely fabulous.
Obviously I’ve known about Lindt forever and have bought (and eaten?) more than my fair share of truffles and bars (the best to bake with!), but I had no idea the passion behind the brand. It sold me. You know I’m a wacky crazy passion person and when I see that spark? I’m hooked. The passion and dedication and perfection that goes in to every bite of delicious freaking chocolate? Is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Soooo in the spirit of the super chilly weather we are currently experiencing (not going to lie, I adore it), I made a Lindt-inspired hot chocolate bar because right now in pregnancy I want ALL the drinks! It’s very odd. I don’t care about food so much as I do about beverages. Flavor flavor flavor… gimme.
I used to only drink water. It was all I liked. Things were weird. I no longer know me.
Now. There are actually four main brands of chocolate that go on behind the scenes of Lindt, and while I didn’t really realize that, I’ve definitely, um, partook (is that a word?) in all four… so I wanted to hit ALL of that with my hot chocolate. You probably already know what they are because if you’re anything like me, and live inside of Target, you visit the chocolate aisle quite frequently. Each brand is, well… branded fabulously – and was so inspiring.
First off, I made a dark hot chocolate base and a white hot chocolate base. Oh yes, we will get to that white hot chocolate bombshell here in a second, since it’s all new to me. I whisked my hot chocolate on the stovetop, but did you know that you can make ACTUAL hot sipping chocolate by warming milk (I like a half and half mixture of milk and cream) and whisking in three of your favorite LINDOR truffles? Seriously. You gotta try this. It’s nuts. Please do it today and tell me about it. Specifically with the chocolate peanut butter truffle.
I made a chocolate chip cookies and cream hot chocolate, based on my favorite HELLO candy, the cookies and cream. I’ve always gone crazy over this because it’s CHOCOLATE CHIP cookies and cream. Not like regular cookies and cream. A full-on white chocolate hot chocolate had to happen, which I completed with some homemade vanilla bean marshmallows, freshly whipped cream, white chocolate truffles and iridescent sprinkles. Because I am a child, of course. And Another dark chocolate version: infused with fresh mint, whipped cream and topped with an intense mint EXCELLENCE diamond… ugh. Sign me up.
On the flavor bar went a bunch of flavors that I never would have included previously – and that I was certain would freak everyone else out – but ones that WORKED. I knew it once I tasted them weeks ago, and I love when I’m surprised by flavors that I’d never think to try by myself. For example: dried pineapple, a whisk of cayenne pepper, cranberries and citrus peel. Things totally out of my comfort zone but now… forever in my life.
Um wait. Let’s talk about actually VISITING Lindt. First, the offices near the plant actually SMELL like chocolate. Not joking. I can’t even fathom being near it 24/7 – it’s like heaven on earth. We toured the chocolate plant and I actually ate a white chocolate truffle right off the line.
This is huge. I have ranted about my hatred for white chocolate for YEARS – and then almost died when I tasted this still-warm truffle because it melted in my mouth. Probably one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and my thoughts on GOOD quality white chocolate have been changed. I might have come home with a gigantic bag of white chocolate truffles….
No. I most definitely did.
That’s the other thing. We got to go on a little ‘shopping spree’ of the Lindt store in Boston. You know how I always whine about how I can’t choose favorites, how I can never pick my all-time favorite song or food or movie or color or recipe? Well. This was that times a million.
I was – quite literally – a kid in a candy store. Full disclosure: Lindt provided us with a $100 gift card to run wild in the store. Did I go over the $100 limit? Of course I did. My gluttonous tendencies came over and I walked out of there with a lot more chocolate than I needed on my credit card.
[Sidebar: the best part was when I returned home from Richmond a few weeks ago, I noticed that a bunch of bags of LINDOR truffles were open and sitting out. I was like… what the heck? Eddie never eats stuff like that, he much prefers cookies and brownies no matter how high-end the chocolate is. Turns out, he discovered the truffles, dug into them and hasn’t stopped eating them since. We actually have tried to hide the chocolate from ourselves… very unsuccessfully. He just scarfed some last night. It’s made passing up Halloween candy very easy. I’m being so chocolate snobby right now.]
We got to do some other awesome things in New Hampshire and Boston too: for a play on Lindt’s seasonal chocolate (uhhh can you say white chocolate peppermint truffles?!), we had an afternoon of crafts, which yes, was my worst nightmare since I can’t craft a darn thing, but was also pretty fun. We made Valentine’s mason jars stuffed with chocolate and mine looked like hot pink and neon pink and reddish-pink and hearts and glitter threw up all over my project. It’s currently sitting on my nightstand right now. We also made our own boxes of their specialty chocolates… which might have already been devoured. Oops.
To enjoy the famous “melt moment” of LINDOR truffles (no, seriously, just eat one – doesn’t it melt in your mouth?!), we had a spa mani-pedi day, which was incredibly relaxing and delicious. To emphasize the Lindt HELLO chocolates (dude remember when I instagrammed these like over a year ago?!), we did a scavenger hunt in Boston which tooootally forced me out of my comfort zone and had us exploring the city all day.
Before that I also ate some wonderful baked goat cheese as fuel. All other things aside.
And perhaps my favorite part, well, as favorite as it can be while pregnant – we had a chocolate and wine pairing with the Lindt EXCELLENCE bars. GAH. I did have four tiiiiny sips of wine – one with each piece. I was introduced to some of my new favorite chocolates here – things that I NEVER thought I’d enjoy. For instance: the dark chocolate pineapple bar. Um, what? Never in a million years would I pick that up but it was incredible and is my new favorite bar.
Also: the dark chocolate lemon bar. And the black currant bar. I just can’t even. I’ve always gravitated towards the sea salt chocolate bar, but now that just seems too plain. Give me the fruit. See? Even attempting to choose a favorite is turning into a disaster. It was just such an awesome trip. Even though I didn’t want to see any chocolate for a week (err, okay, a day) after.
Below you’ll find some of these crazy hot chocolate recipes I threw together, like, um, THIS ONE that I instagrammed a few days ago. I’m so madly in love. Drink your dessert!
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups cream or half and half
- 4 ounces 70% dark chocolate chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups cream or half and half
- 8 ounces white chocolate chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- vanilla bean marshmallows // freshly whipped cream // chocolate chip cookies // brownies // salted caramel // fresh mint leaves // cayenne pepper // hot red chiles // fat flaked coconut // dried pineapple rings // peanut butter // honey roasted peanuts // citrus slices or candied citrus rind // chocolate squares and truffles of your choice // pure extracts: almond, coconut, peppermint and vanilla // sprinkles (DUH)
- In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the milk and cream. Bring it to a simmer, stirring every few minutes. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot milk to the cocoa and sugar, mixing thoroughly to create a paste. Once the entire thing is wet, use a spatula to add it to the milk and turn the heat down to low. Whisk continuously until smooth (do not let it boil), then whisk in the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and salt. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the milk and cream. Bring it to a simmer, stirring every few minutes. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot milk to the sugar, mixing thoroughly to create a paste. Once the entire thing is wet, use a spatula to add it to the milk and turn the heat down to low. Whisk continuously until smooth (do not let it boil), then whisk in the chopped white chocolate and vanilla extract.
- for chocolate chip cookies and cream hot chocolate: before filling your mug, rub frosting (from the tub is fine!) or honey (you need a sticky substance) along the rim of the mug. Crush 2 chocolate chips cookies into crumbs and press the crumbs into the sticky rim. Fill the mug with hot chocolate, then top it with whipped cream, marshmallows, a big cookie and a cookies and cream HELLO chocolate.
- for mint hot chocolate: use the dark hot chocolate base and add one cup fresh mint leaves to the milk mixture while warming. To intensify the mint flavor, add a drop or two of pure peppermint extract. Remove the mint leaves before serving. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows and fresh mint leaves. (Additionally, if you’d really like to up the ante, you can make the entire recipe with an EXCELLENCE intense mint chocolate bar.)
- for spicy chile hot chocolate: use the dark chocolate base and whisk in 1/4 teaspoon (or more, if you like!) of cayenne pepper. Top the hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows and hot red chili peppers as garnish. Add a squash of chile chocolate on top. (Additionally, if you’d really like to up the ante, you can make the entire recipe with an EXCELLENCE chile chocolate bar.)
- for peanut butter hot chocolate: use the dark chocolate base and whisk in 1/3 cup of creamy peanut butter once the chocolate has melted. Top the hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows and honey roasted peanuts.
And seriously seriously… you gotta find the dark chocolate pineapple bar. Trust me on this one. I KNOW. P.S. I had been to Boston before, which I really love, but New Hampshire?! HELLO. YOU ARE GORGEOUS!