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            Cinnamon Custard Hot Chocolate

            With many of our Christmas recipes, it is nice to have something delicious to serve alongside. The cinnamon custard and brandy butter make a great addition to festive treats, while a mug of hot chocolate is a delicious winter warmer.

            Cinnamon Custard


            600ml whole milk
            ½ vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
            1 large cinnamon stick
            5 medium egg yolks
            50g golden caster sugar
            2 tablespoons brandy, optional


            1. Pour the milk into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in half and add to the pan along with the cinnamon stick. Bring slowly to the boil then remove from the heat and leave to one side for about 30 minutes so the milk becomes infused with the vanilla and cinnamon.
            2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy. Reheat the milk and pour onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly until smooth. Pour the custard back into the pan, place over a low heat and stir constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and add the brandy if using – do not let it boil or you might scramble the eggs.
            3. Strain into a jug and serve immediately.


            Clementine and Brandy Butter


            175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
            75g icing sugar, sifted
            50g soft light brown sugar
            ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
            1 good grating of nutmeg
            Finely grated zest of 1 clementine
            3 tablespoons brandy


            1. Beat the soft butter with both sugars until light, creamy and smooth. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and clementine zest and mix again.
            2. Gradually add the brandy, mixing well until thoroughly incorporated. Serve at room temperature.


            Hot Chocolate


            150g dark chocolate (68%)
            50g milk chocolate
            350ml semi-skimmed milk
            100ml double cream
            1 cinnamon stick
            2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or clear honey
            1 teaspoon vanilla extract
            1 pinch salt
            Whipped cream and marshmallows to serve


            1. Chop both of the chocolates and place in a mixing bowl or jug.
            2. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Add the cinnamon stick, maple syrup or honey, vanilla extract and salt. Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat to let the cinnamon infuse the milk and cream.
            3. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan and gently reheat, whisking constantly, until just below boiling point. Pour into mugs or heatproof glasses, (depending on the size of these, this recipe is enough for at least two servings). Top with whipped cream and marshmallows and serve immediately.


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