Monday, December 26, 2022

Homemade Barely Spiked Hot Chocolate flavored w/ vanilla, Amaretto, whiskey-soaked nibs

Chocolate of the Day

Homemade Barely Spiked Hot Chocolate
(flavored with vanilla, Amaretto, whiskey-soaked nibs)
Good +
Weight: Approx. 8 fl. oz. (30 mL) glass
Calories: 175 calories (estimate) for 1 glass
Cost: N/A - various ingredients already on hand
Purchased from: N/A - various stories

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Holiday Spirits. After over-doing it a bit this past week (multiple chocolate entries per day), I am relaxing with a homemade, very lightly spiked hot chocolate.

Today's homemade hot chocolate was a blend of hot milk, dark chocolate (2 squares of dark chocolate + 1/2 teaspoon dark cocoa powder), and a very small amount of melted butter, flavored with vanilla, 1 Tablespoon of whiskey-soaked cacao nibs (strained out after heating), and 1/4 teaspoon of Amaretto (almond flavored liqueur). The alcohol in the whiskey was no longer detectable but the flavor remained in the cocoa nibs.*

No sugar or added sweeteners. And very little alcohol. So, I was able to taste all the other wonderful ingredients. 

I've felt very grateful for being able to spend time with friends and family this holiday week. This morning, however, I enjoyed a chocolate that was less buzzy, and more relaxing. This was closer to a hot milk than a sweetened hot chocolate. The wonderful thing about cacao is that it doesn't have to be candy to be enjoyed.

Happy Holidays all.

*Spirits-infused cacao nibs (pieces of cacao beans) are very easy to make and can be used in baking and to infuse flavor into desserts and beverages. (Adding cacao nibs to brownies or cookies is worth trying.)

To make your own, put about 1/4 of a cup of cacao nibs into a small glass jar with a metal screw lid. Pour whiskey, rum (or your spirit of choice) over the nibs, enough to barely cover them. Then put the lid on and put them in a cool, dark place (dark cabinet, refrigerator door). Over time the alcohol dissipates; but the flavor remains, and the nibs are left with a more hydrated, softer crunch.

If you like the results, I recommend experimenting with different cacao bean varieties and origins (e.g. cacao nibs from a specific country if available). Different cacao origins will have a slightly different aroma and flavor. Some may be fruitier; some may have a slightly nuttier flavor. And others will smell more like "true" chocolate (brownies).

Godiva - Limited Edition Assorted Chocolates; Butlers - Irish Whiskey Milk & Dark Chocolate Truffles - Dec. 25, 2022

Chocolate(s) of the Day

Limited Edition Assorted Chocolate Collection
1.) Salted Caramel Lion of Belgium - Good +
2.) Midnight Swirl - Good ++
3.) Dark Chocolate Ganache Bliss - Good +
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.) / 3.52 oz. (100 g.) in total box of 8 piece box
Calories: 180 calories in 3 piece(s)
Cost: N/A - holiday gift (Thank you Milo and family!)
Purchased from: N/A - holiday gift

Butlers Chocolates
Irish Whiskey Milk and Dark Chocolate Truffles
Good + 
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 4.41 oz. (125 g.) in total box of 10 pieces
Calories: 115 calories in 2 truffles
Cost: $5.99 for 1 box of 10 pieces
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. May your days be merry and bright--and filled with good chocolate.

Today's Christmas Day chocolate line-up included: 1.) three filled chocolates from Godiva (U.S. headquarters: New York City, NY) and 2.) Irish Whiskey Milk and Dark Chocolate Truffles (one of each flavor) from Butlers Chocolates UC (Dublin, Ireland). 

These two companies have been producing chocolate confections for more than 96 years and 90 years, respectively.


Godiva was founded in Belgium in 1926. The following three chocolates were enjoyed from a holiday assortment box.

The regal-looking, shield/crest shaped "Salted Caramel Lion of Belgium" was covered in sweet, smooth dark chocolate with a soft, flowing lightly-salted caramel filling inside.

The "Dark Ganache Bliss" had a dark chocolate shell filled with a fudgey, sweet 72% cacao dark chocolate filling (ganache).

The "Midnight Swirl" ultra-dark chocolate had an 85% cacao dark ganache center, and had aroma and flavor notes that included: fudge brownie, very faint fruit, warm spice and earth.

The Midnight Swirl was my favorite of the three pieces, largely because more of the cacao flavors were detectable. (Less sugar generally results in more complex underlying flavors shining through, as does less-alkalized cacao.) It was great to see this higher-percent cacao filled chocolate in the dark chocolate Godiva line-up.

Ingredients: Ingredients list for assortment box not separated by flavor. 

Allergen-related information: (May contain traces of milk and nuts.)

Butlers Irish Whiskey Milk and Dark Chocolate Truffles

Butlers Chocolates (founded by Marion Butler in 1932 and originally called Chez Nous Chocolates) has been making chocolates in Ireland since then, and is still family owned.

Aroma notes for today's spirited milk chocolate and dark chocolate truffles included: sweet whiskey and sweet milk and/or dark chocolate.

The texture for the relatively thick (outer) dark and/or milk chocolate shells surrounding the softer chocolate centers was smooth and creamy. And the sweet, mellow, Irish whiskey aroma and taste perfumed both milk and dark truffles and lightly lingered into the finish.

The Irish whiskey added some flavor depth and interest to these sweet, substantial chocolate truffles.

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, invert sugar syrup, Irish whiskey (5%), sweetened condensed milk (milk, sugar), emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural flavoring. (Dark chocolate contains: 58% cocoa solids minimum. Milk chocolate contains: 32% cocoa solids minimum, 20% milk solids minimum).

Allergen-related information: Contains milk and soya. May contain traces of tree nuts. Alcohol by volume: 2.15%

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