My son celebrated his first birthday this weekend and the theme was “Lumberjack.” (Cake and cupcakes pictured at the bottom…so cute).
Because the theme was lumberjack our stomachs steered us to BBQ… Camping… and all that goodness. My son’s birthday is also in December and it was pouring out–but such a minor meteorological threat hardly needs to stop good food.
Our menu included smokey jalapeno poppers, pulled BBQ chicken and jackfruit sandwiches, potato salad, smokey pumpkin chili, corn on the cob, a baby buffet (consisting of tiny sandwiches and crackers mostly, ha!), and of course… spiced hot chocolate!
It was a lot of fun and he really enjoyed himself. Everyone stuffed themselves to the brim and then had cake with Tillamook Fireside Smores ice cream (Tillamook…NW pride!), and then some went for a third round. Good times were had by all.
Spiced Hot Chocolate
This comes together easily. If your party is the next day, combine all the ingredients per the instructions below, but then place in the fridge until party time comes–place on a low-medium heat until just before the desired temp is reached then reduce to the lowest setting to just maintain heat. I’d recommend an hour lead-time for re-heating from a cold state.
Okay… so I created a ridiculous double-boiler out of my large pot and set/floated it in my larger skillet with water. It got water everywhere…but it worked. So, do what you will with that information. I cleaned one less pot!
Add to one large pot (sitting in a skillet of water or double-boiler, on a VERY low heat OR a slow cooker–you choose you’re weapon. My slow cookers were preoccupied with shredded BBQ things.)
- 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more to taste)
- 3/4 of a 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk (or the full can to make it very sweet)
Mix gently until melted and very smooth
Slowly incorporate the one gallon of milk a 1/2 cup at a time
- 1/2 cup at a time until 1 gallon
Continue incorporating 1/2 cup at a time, usually after the former 1/2 cup has become warm. Once the chocolate is well-incorporated add whatever amount of milk remains.
Adding the milk too quickly results in the chocolate solidifying in the cold milk.
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 1 nutmeg pod
Allow to heat through, but no need to boil. Keep on a low to medium heat for about an hour. Fish out the whole spices and serve with marshmallows!
Here is my son’s birthday cake and cupcakes! Pancakes and campfires!