Hot Chocolate Ginger

As I mentioned the other day, I’m quite partial to chocolate-coated ginger so I decided to have a go at making some with the crystallised ginger I picked up recently.

Deliberately flouting the first rule of cooking (well, one of the rules anyway: always use the best ingredients you can afford), I picked up a bar of the cheapest dark chocolate I could find – Morrisons economy label; I was shocked to note that it’s gone up 50% since I last got a bar a few months ago and now costs a whopping 30p instead of 20p, but it’s still far cheaper than any of the competition and is respectably good chocolate for the price and certainly good enough for my experimentation.

Being unsure as to how best to melt chocolate and too impatient to google it, I just put about half the bar in to my smallest saucepan at a very low heat, stirring it with a wooden spoon to try and prevent it burning.  This was only partially successful and I ended up adding a small amount of milk to try and make it a bit smoother.  I then dropped in bits of ginger, one or two at a time, and gave them a good stir round to get them well-coated before taking them out and dropping them on a plate.  The added milk seems to have made the chocolate set quite soft, but the finished pieces are very tasty.

To use up the remaining chocolate and go some way towards cleaning the pan, I added a fairly generous amount of milk, a little bit of sugar, some ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt while it was still on the heat, then let it simmer for a bit and decanted it into a cup to enjoy as  a drink of hot chocolate.  This was a bit richer than the usual stuff I make up from powder and, although probably not the way I’d want to make it every time, has potential for being an excellent way to make it up as a special treat (I was inspired by a recipe I’d looked at for DIY hot chocolate that suggested adding cream too; that one started with heating the milk (and sugar?) then adding the chocolate and other ingredients but was otherwise much the same as my method) and it does seem to be a good way of using up any remaining chocolate after dipping operations.

I think, though I haven’t yet done any research or experimentation to check this, that using a double saucepan or bain-marie (as far as I know that’s just another name for the same thing) is the preferred method for melting chocolate, as it provides a much gentler heat.  I’ve got nearly half a bar of chocolate and a fair bit of ginger left over, so if I can find suitable pots to use, I might give that a try to see if it works better.

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