Whether you make your hot chocolate from cocoa powder, a store-bought mix, or a fancy piece of fancy chocolate, you will — at some point — need to stir it. Most people reach for a spoon, and clever folks reach for a fork, but during the holiday season you should grab a peppermint stick or candy cane.
This is an elegant, if rather obvious move. Peppermint sticks are, after all, sticks, and sticks are good for stirring — or swizzling, if you like. Peppermint sticks also taste like peppermint, which happens to taste good when combined with chocolate. Candy canes also work, obviously, as even bent sticks make good stirring devices.
If you aren’t a fan of the chocolate and mint combo, I can’t say I relate, but I encourage you to look at alternative stick and cane flavours. There are cinnamon sticks and canes. There are Oreo candy canes. There are butterscotch candy canes. Ever been to a Cracker Barrel? Their “country” stores offer an embarrassment of variously flavored candy sticks in oh so many jars, and they are cheap. (I have a friend who is obsessed with the clove stick. She’s a very special lady.)
Beyond utility and flavour, stirring your cocoa with a candy cane (or stick) offers something else: Whimsy. Cheer. Fun. Stirring your cocoa with sugar that has been fashioned into a beautiful stick (a marvel of confectionery, if you think about it) is festive. Don’t you want to be festive? Don’t you want to be full of mirth and cheer and cocoa? Stirring with a candy cane or peppermint stick is the easiest way to live that dream. And that’s all I want for you, my friend. Sweet, mirthful, candy dreams.
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