I know, I sound like a three year old right now.
Seriously, though, you know those GIFs that say things like, “I don’t have A.D.D., I just… Ooooh look! GLITTER!”?
Well, I’m really like that.
Last week, when I made Kristan’s birthday cupcakes, I’m not even gonna lie, I couldn’t stop staring at them. I’d walk by and the glitter would catch the light, and I would immediately be drawn to them, all slack jawed and unfocused. I even picked one up and stood there turning it this way and that in the light, so I could watch it sparkle…for, like, 10 minutes.
Whenever I get my wedding ring cleaned, I get all distracted by it when sunlight hits it.
It’s a really good thing that the world in general isn’t especially sparkly…I’d be useless; standing around, mouth agape, staring unblinkingly at all that glitters.
I know I’m not alone. My sister is almost as bad as I am. But this does nothing to soothe my embarrassment. After all, we’re related. It’s obviously some kind of genetic malfunction.
When I made my snitch ornaments last month, there was glitter all over the table. All. Over. I decided right then and there that it was absolutely vital, my life would not be complete without it…I have to have a table that is completely covered in glitter. And I’ll install these great jewelry store spotlights over it so that it always glimmers to it’s best abilities.
Obviously, this can’t happen until I’m very old and retired, because I’ll never be able to look away from it again, but it must happen.
Clearly, I was a magpie or something in a former life. Although…that’s actually sort of a compliment because they’re considered one of the most intelligent animals.
So really, by that theory, I’m a genius. I guess I should stop worrying so much about it. And maybe start making that table.
But I should probably go ahead and share this recipe with you first. You know, just in case I get too distracted by the glitter later.
I was originally inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod’s beautiful Strawberry Sweethearts Cocoa, but I was intrigued to try to make something with fresh strawberries and white chocolate.
I made this recipe two ways. Pure and homemade, and semi-homemade. The first version using seedless strawberry puree, and the second using drink mix.
I really prefer to make things from scratch, with natural ingredients, and I think a lot of other people do, too, when they have time. But sometimes there just isn’t extra time. That’s why I made this both ways…sometimes we just don’t have time to puree a bunch of strawberries and press them through a sieve to get rid of the seeds. Sometimes we have time to stir in some strawberry mix and enjoy the time saved so that we can play Mousetrap with our kids.
I mean, unless you count strawberry ice cream, which I kind of think totally counts. Except it doesn’t, because I only like homemade strawberry ice cream, which is less sweet and more tart. That is not how strawberry milk is. Strawberry milk is all sweet.
Not that it’s not good or anything, but I’m just saying.
Other than the strawberry milk mix, this recipe is made based on the Hubster’s Best Hot Cocoa. I just replaced the cocoa/sugar with the strawberry puree or drinkmix, replaced the chocolate chips with white chocolate, and omitted the vanilla.
The result is sweet, creamy, and all happy.
Besides this amazing drink, I also made some fun whipped cream hearts. I originally saw something about this on Pinterest, but upon chasing down the source for the photo, I discovered that it wasn’t actually whipped cream at all, but a marshmallow heart instead.
I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of irritated. I mean, who decided it was okay to see a photo of something, assume what it was, and make up instructions for it?? What if it didn’t actually work?? What then? I mean, that’s just not responsible. Maybe someone actually has done it before, and so they do know what they’re talking about, but I would much rather have proof of that in the form of a source I can check out; not just some random photo that someone decided use.
But you know what? It’s okay. Because I discovered just this morning that, over the last few days, a few of us decided that it really is a great idea to make these little hearts, and we’ve all tested and tried it for you.
I threw together some homemade whipped cream for mine. I think it’s much preferable to Cool Whip. Plus, I don’t really think this would work very well with Cool Whip, but I didn’t try, so I can’t say for sure.
Just place your whipped cream on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Spread the whipped cream evenly, so that it’s about the same thickness all the way across. Don’t worry about making it look perfect, or be perfectly smooth on top; I thought the pretttiest hearts were the ones with some of the lines across them.
If you do want perfectly smooth hearts, you can smooth the top part out be placing another sheet of parchment on top, and peeling it away once the cream is firm.
Now freeze it until firm. I actually froze mine for about two and a half hours, just to be sure, but I don’t think you have to be that extreme.
Once it’s frozen, grab a cookie cutter and cut out your shapes (I used a mini heart, but full sized shapes are fantastic, too). You can do just about any shape, although I’d recommend avoiding anything with tiny details or intricate edges. You have to push the shape out of the cutter, and I think anything too complex would break. That’s all there is to it.
When you place these in hot chocolate, using a spoon will prevent them from flipping all over and getting chocolate and stuff on them. Just place one a a spoon and lay it in the drink, it will come off on it’s own.
Throw a few into your hot chocolate, add some pretty sprinkles and a few chocolate chips, and find a quiet place to enjoy this before you have to get back to cleaning the kitchen or writing that paper.
As for the hot chocolate itself. I have to say, I prefer the homemade stuff (with the puree), but both versions are great. The semi-homemade version is sweeter and more artificial flavored (obviously), but it’s easy and fun to make, and everyone really enjoyed it. The homemade version, though, had a nice tartness to it, and a fresh flavor that the other one lacked. It’s a little more work, but it’s not too bad, and I think it was worth it. It’s like fresh, homemade ice cream…except all hot and melty. And wonderful.
However you decide to make this, it will be a great change from the usual, and it’s perfect to share with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!
P.S. I highly recommend serving this with Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreos. Have you had these yet?! ohmahgawd. Have them. Trust me.
Pure Strawberry White Hot Chocolate [Printable Version]
Makes 4 servings
**For Vegan/dairy free, replace the milk/cream with soy, almond, or rice milk. As always, double check that all ingredients are vegan/dairy free/gluten free.**
**For a semi-homemade version, replace the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice with 1/4 cup strawberry milk drink mix, such as Nesquik. Nesquik is not vegan, but my research says it is gluten free. Please be sure to confirm this for yourself.**
1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups (750 ml) milk
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream (for a lighter version, omit the cream and replace with more milk)
1/4 cup white chocolate, chopped
**If you want yours sweeter, add up to an extra half cup of sugar while the mixture is cooking.
Slice the strawberries then toss them in a medium bowl with the sugar and lemon juice. Cover and set aside for one hour.
Stir the strawberry mixture to evenly coat everything, then transfer it to a blender or food processor. Process until completely pureed, then press the strawberries through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.
Pour the strawberries back into the processor and add the milk and cream. Process until blended.
Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan set over medium heat in the white chocolate. Cooking over medium heat, whisking almost constantly, until it just barely begins to lightly boil, about 10 minutes; remove from heat.
Transfer to your favorite mug, top with marshmallows or whipped cream, and any other yummy treats.
Recipe by Darla