I know that it's not quite December yet and I haven't even cracked out my winter coat yet but I don't think it's ever too early to get into the holiday spirit.
And by holiday spirit, I mean homicidal urges and a hatred for all of humanity.
Christmas is a really special time isn't it?
This weekend I started my Christmas shopping in earnest. Saturday morning found me and my mother wondering around Forever 21 on Oxford Street looking dazed and confused as we attempted to find some clothes that a 12 year old would deem acceptable. I had planned to continue with my mission and hit a few other shops but there were just people. Everywhere. Walking so slowly. Getting in my way. Queuing at the tills I wanted to use. How dare they!
Within about ten minutes, I knew it was a bad idea. I could feel myself getting all hot and flustered and my blood pressure was spiralling dangerously out of control. It just all become too much for me and before I knew it, I was abandoning my shopping basket in the middle of the store and fleeing as fast as I could, throwing old ladies aside as I raced for the exit (I didn't really, I promise).
After spending the rest of Saturday lying down in a darkened room, I was determined to conquer my foe the following day.
And conquer it a jolly well did, if the sound of weeping from my credit card this morning is anything to go by. Two hours later, I had crossed off most of my list and had even managed to sort out presents for some of the more difficult of my acquaintances.
Oh and I accidentally purchased some sparkly shoes too. No idea how that happened.
All of that shopping really took it out of me though. My boyfriend was working all day so I had to actually carry all the bags myself! The horror! It was very fortunate therefore that I had all the ingredients on hand for a restorative alcohol-laden hot chocolate. I think these should be a compulsory part of the Christmas shopping experience.
The hot chocolate itself is very simple. Heat your milk until just about boiling, add some dark chocolate and stir it until melted. Add sugar to taste and you have a fairly decent drink. What elevates this hot chocolate though is a generous punch of salt, a good glug of caramel vodka and a spoonful of double cream at the end. Top with some more cream, obviously, and a grating of chocolate and get ready to drink away your holiday stresses.
Salted caramel vodka hot chocolate
Yield: Makes 1 giant cup or 2 normal sized cups
- 400ml milk
- 80g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- Generous pinch sea salt
- 25ml caramel vodka (or any flavoured spirit of your choice)
- 1 tbsp double/heavy cream
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan on the stove until it's just about to boil.
- Take it off the heat and add the chocolate and the salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture has thickened. The smaller your chocolate, the easier this will be. Add more salt to taste.
- When all the chocolate has melted, stir in the vodka and the double cream.
- Pour into mugs, top with some whipped cream if you want and enjoy.