This year I have decided to set myself the most ridiculous challenge of doing Blogmas…which is only ridiculous as I am also working full time. Say what you like, but I am dedicated to this blog, and when I saw people doing this last year I instantly knew that it was something I needed to have a go at. Not only do I want to prove to myself that I can push myself as much as this, but it is also an opportunity to make Christmas a little more exciting this year. As I have got a bit older I have started to lose the spirit of Christmas, purely just because I am not a child anymore. I hate the feeling, so I just want to get myself back into it and enjoy the whole of the festive season. So, everyday until Christmas I am going to be sharing a blog post with the Christmas spirit in mind. I want to share the things that I love about Christmas as well as a few traditions that I have. I am very much a creature of habit, so my Christmas traditions will be sticking with me for many years to come. 
I am going to kick things off with a blog post that has taken me such a long time to prepare. If you didn’t know, I work in a chocolate shop in Bristol, where we make the most delicious hot chocolates ever. I have taken inspiration from how we make our chocolates, and tried to replicate the recipes in a way that you can make them at home. Obviously we don’t have fancy coffee machines with steam wands and expensive oils in the luxury of our own homes, so I just wanted to create some that are easy to make for everybody. I think they turned out pretty well, and actually were so delicious. All the flavour combinations I have created are like Christmas in a cup, and to be honest completely aimed at anybody. I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t enjoy a lovely hot chocolate, especially in the winter. 
Toppings – Firstly, no hot chocolate is complete without some delicious accompaniments on top. A huge pile of whipped cream, sweet marshmallows and extra chocolatey flakes. Not to mention, the christmas addition of cinnamon and little gingerbread men. I like to go all out with hot chocolates, which I guess is pretty obvious from this post. All of the toppings I have used in this post were bought from my local Tesco, so everyone is able to get hold of them. For an extra festive addition, I also bought some popping candy and little white chocolate stars which just looked fabulous. 
Milk – With all of these hot chocolates, they are made with 1/3 chocolate buttons and 2/3 milk. Whenever I make hot chocolates I always use almond milk. This isn’t because I don’t eat dairy or am trying to be healthy, it is purely because I find that it has a much better texture for hot chocolate. It is thick and creamy without being too rich, and is fine to use as it doesn’t alter the taste at all. Apart from with morning cereal, I use almond milk in practically everything now. If you wanted another alternative you could also use coconut, soya or rice milk. The only one of those that probably would effect the taste is coconut milk. 
Chocolate – This all depends on what you like. I have used Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate Buttons in my drinks, however you could use any kind of chocolate that you prefer. Ideally chocolate buttons are easier to use as they melt well with the milk, but there are so many different brands who sell these. 
Ginger Hot Chocolate 
Ever since I was little I have always loved the taste of ginger, which started when I was introduced to my first gingerbread man in Parson’s Bakery. This love has matured over the years, and now I use ginger in lots of cooking, and obviously for this post hot chocolate. The combination of ginger and warming chocolate is just bliss, and always gives me a taste of Autumn. It takes the sweetness away from the chocolate, and gives off the most amazing festive smells. To finish my ginger hot chocolates I used marshmallows, white chocolate stars and of course, a mini gingerbread man. How cute is he?! 
In your cup, 1/3 chocolate buttons, filled with milk // 1 tsp ginger powder
Place the chocolate buttons and milk into a small saucepan and heat slowly so that the chocolate melts as the milk heats up. Once it becomes warm, add the ginger powder and keep stirring until completely hot. Empty back into your chosen mug and add your toppings. 
Bailey’s Hot Chocolate
This to me is Christmas all over. The only time of year that I drink Bailey’s is Christmas, purely because it makes it a little bit more special and I just find the taste of it quite sickly. I would never think to myself in the evening, oh I fancy a Bailey’s! As my love of cooking has developed, I have started using Bailey’s more around Christmas in lots of my bakes. I have a delicious Bailey’s Chocolate Cheesecake coming to the blog over the next few weeks. Anyway, my favourite hot chocolate at Christmas will always be a lovely milk chocolate with an added shot of Bailey’s. To me it is unbeatable and a winner. It also wouldn’t be complete without a dollop of whipped cream and crumbling of chocolate flakes. Yum yum yum! 
In your cup, 1/3 chocolate buttons, then filled up with milk // 1tsp Bailey’s
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and chocolate buttons until melted and warm. Add the Bailey’s and keep on the heat until completely hot. 
All Spice Hot Chocolate
Christmas Heaven. All the spices taking you right back to your childhood when Christmas was the best time of year. The spicy and festive aroma always puts a smile on my face, and is just that little bit stronger than the hot chocolate with ginger. Warming chocolate is the perfect accompaniment to all spice, to me being the ultimate comfort food at this time of year, especially when the weather can be a little dull. 
In the cup, 1/3 chocolate buttons, filled with milk // 1tsp ground all spice
In a small saucepan, melt the milk and chocolate buttons together on a low heat. Add the all spice just before it is ready and mix thoroughly. Serve with some lovely whipped cream and top with a little cinnamon for an added festive glow. 
Orange Hot Chocolate
To me, orange and chocolate is the perfect combination. When I was younger, the ultimate treat was getting to eat a slice of my families chocolate orange over Christmas. I absolutely adore them, and quite honestly could eat the whole thing by myself in one evening. Obviously I said that the Bailey’s was my favourite, but being very honest this is a close second, and sometimes is better than a Baileys. As much as Baileys is nice, it often goes to my head which isn’t ideal if I am driving or trying to get things done. Orange hot chocolates are just a incredible invention, and I adore them. 
In the cup, 1/3 chocolate buttons, filled with milk // 1tsp orange extract (available in supermarkets) 
Heat the milk and chocolate buttons slowly until melted and warm. Add the orange extract, keep stirring and heat until hot and bubbling. Put in your mug, and top with cream and flakes. 
– enjoy – 
I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own. 
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