Merry Christmas Eve, most beloved internet friends! We’ve abandoned our usual sunny home and are having ourselves a genuinely white Christmas this year, playing in the snow, making snowmen, and, it must be said, shivering in our boots. Asher is at a magical age where everything is new and exciting and he really understands the concept of Christmas for the first time, so we’re having so much fun seeing the holiday through his eyes. And stuffing ourselves silly, although that probably goes without saying.
I know that it’s much too late in the game to share any useful Christmas recipes—I hope you are all baking cookies and playing games with your families instead of reading food blogs! But in case you’re looking for some last-minute inspiration, here’s a fun twist on a classic: Cherry Hot Chocolate that tastes like a cherry cordial! Make it for yourself, or leave a glass for Santa along with some cookies or Reindeer Noses candy.
Some of my favorite recipes I’ve made for the blog have been hot chocolate recipes. This Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is my very favorite, and recently I was smitten with Red Velvet Hot Chocolate, and I can’t forget Hazelnut Hot Chocolate On A Stick, either…it’s like I have only two modes: simple beverages, or insanely time-consuming knockout desserts. Moderation? Never heard of it. Besides, just because hot chocolate is easy doesn’t make it any less delicious!
This Cherry Hot Chocolate starts with my basic homemade chocolate recipe (although with two kinds of chocolate and two kinds of dairy, I might need to reconsider my definition of “basic”…) and then it gets some maraschino cherry lovin’! I blended some cherries and maraschino juice together, then strained the mixture and poured it into hot chocolate. The result is a rich chocolately drink with a big hit of maraschino cherry flavor. You may scoff at using uber-processed maraschino cherries, but I was really trying to recreate chocolate-dipped cherries in drinkable form, so maraschinos were the only option for me!
This recipe is family appropriate and kid-approved, but if you want to tip it from nice to naughty, add a bit of kirsch to the adults’ glasses. And, of course, serve with a big swirl of whipped cream and a cherry on top!
Cherry Hot Chocolate
Cherry Hot Chocolate is a thick, rich homemade hot chocolate that tastes like a cherry cordial!
- 1/4 cup marschino cherry juice from an 8- to 10-oz jar
- 6 maraschino cherries without pits or stems
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- Pinch salt
- 3 oz dark chocolate finely chopped
- 2 oz milk chocolate finely chopped
- Whipped cream and additional cherries to garnish
Combine the cherry juice and cherries in a blender and blend them together until as smooth as possible. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, straining out any cherry solids and discarding them.
Add the cream, milk, and salt to the saucepan, and place it over medium heat. Heat up the milk, stirring occasionally, and scraping the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula so the milk doesn't scorch. Bring it to a simmer so that bubbles appear along the sides of the pan.
Once simmering, remove the pan from the heat and add both chopped chocolates. Whisk everything together until the chocolate has melted and the drink is creamy and smooth. Serve warm, with whipped cream and a cherry on top. You can add a bit of kirsch to each serving, if desired. The chocolate can be made ahead of time and kept in a container in the refrigerator until you're ready to enjoy it. It can be reheated on either the stove or in the microwave.
This recipe makes about 3 cups of hot chocolate, or enough for 4-6 small servings. You can easily double it if you're serving a large group!