With the recent arrival of one small person and the imminent arrival of two more, last Christmas I got to thinking about how to sprinkle some extra magic into their lives and I decided the time was ripe for a new Christmas Eve tradition in the form of snow globe hot chocolate.
I spotted these little guys on BBC Good Food and thought they’d make the perfect gifts to deliver to all the special people in my life as we waited for Santa to arrive. Last year, I only had one small to cater for, my two year old nephew, so I also treated my parents and my sister and brother-in-law (expectant parents-to-be).
In a nutshell, it’s a snowman made out of sweets sitting on a bed of hot chocolate in a jam jar. I did make some minor recipe adjustments, and I plan to make one more this year to truly make this recipe bombproof.
- I swapped the cookie that the snowman sits on for a Yorkie chocolate button. They’re plenty big enough to stabilise the snowman, and they also fit easily into a jam jar. The fancy, schmansy cookies I originally picked out were too mahoosive to fit…so I ate them all to myself instead. Mwahahahaha.
- I used a Rolo instead of a Reese’s peanut butter cup for the hats because I find the latter a bit bleurgh. Right now, I’m on the hunt for something even better, so my snowmen can wear bowler hats instead of top hats. It’s a style thing :-p
- I thought the hot chocolate itself should be a bit more special than a bit of Horlicks and cocoa powder, so I added 35g of Hans Sloane Pure Milk Chocolate Beads to each jar instead.
- So that the snowmen had a bit of individual character, I used some strawberry laces and some ‘mixed fruit’ laces so that they had scarves of different colours.
- I really dislike edible icing pens – they just always seem to fall short no matter what you’re trying to do with them, so I coloured a small piece of white sugarpaste orange and shaped it into 5 cones for each snowman’s nose, sticking them on with chocolate, and I just used an black edible pen to draw their faces and buttons on. It couldn’t have been simpler, and so much less messy than an icing pen.
Now, you can buy bags of mini marshmallows that are all white, but they cost the Earth compared to the mixed pink and white bags. I bought a mixed bag and found that there were more than enough white ones (I scattered 15 into each jam jar), with the added bonus that there was only one way to dispose of the unsuitable pink ones. Yep, I scoffed the lot.
I was also a bit concerned about using a cocktail stick in something edible I was giving to a two year old, so I used melted white chocolate to stick my marshmallows together.
The trickiest part of putting these snowmen together was down to the scarves. I plaited the laces and, once I had the length about right, I knotted both ends. Getting the length just right and then tying them around the (non-existent) neck’s of the snowmen was fiddly. Each snowman’s head sits on top of the scarf, not the marshmallow below, and it’s a bit of a delicate balancing act to get them to stay on. This year, I’m going to switch out the laces for something like these ‘belts’.
This way, I can cut something that looks like a scarf tail, but the body of the scarf will be flat and sit nicely between the ‘upper body’ and ‘head’ marshmallows. I’m hoping this will take some of the fear out of getting them into the jars, too. Rather heart-stoppingly, the best way to get said snowman into said jar is to pick him up by his head and lower him in *gasp*. The good news is I only had one head pop off out of the five I tried, and this was easily re-attached. Just make sure your chocolate has had time to set a bit before trying to move the little fellas.
These special hot chocolates were so well received by my family that I plan to make them a staple part of Christmas Eve for years to come. Do you, and your families, have any traditions that make Christmas that little bit more magical, or are you thinking of starting any this year?