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Toffee Apple Hot Chocolate


Biting into the crisp caramel shell of a toffee apple to find the juicy apple underneath is one of life’s simple pleasures. This drink is flavored with caramelized sugar, and you should take the caramel as dark as you dare (without burning it) to get the deepest caramel flavor into the milk. The optional Apfelkorn liqueur is a tasty German apple spirit which is VERY warming!


Prepare the Toffee Apple Hot Chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit) Gas 1.
2. Leaving the skin on, cut the apple into thin slices using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Toss the slices in lemon juice to prevent them browning, then dust in a little cinnamon. Lay the slices out flat on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for one to one and a half hours, until dried but still slightly soft. (This will make more dried apple than you need for decoration, but they will keep well and make a great healthy snack if stored in an airtight container.)
3. Place the sugar in a saucepan and heat gently over a low heat until melted. Do not stir, but swirl it to ensure that the sugar does not burn. Once the sugar has melted, carefully dip some of the baked apple slices into the caramel — only dipping them in halfway. (Use tongs and take extreme care as the sugar is very hot and can burn you.) Place the apple slices on a silicon mat or lined baking sheet and leave to dry.
4. Add the milk to the remaining caramelized sugar in the pan. Do not worry if the sugar solidifies, as it will melt on heating. Simmer over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and add the Apfelkorn, if using (do not return the mixture to the heat as it may curdle the milk). Pour the hot chocolate into two cups or heatproof glasses, top with a little whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce or dulce de leche. Place an apple slice on top of each cup. Serve at once.

Prepare the Caramel Sauce

1. Place the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cream and salt and stir to incorporate until you have a thin caramel sauce. Leave to cool and then pour into a sterilized jar or bottle and store for up to one week in the refrigerator. Makes approx. 150 milliliters/2/3 cup.


From Festive Coffee Shop Drinks: More than 50 Holiday-Inspired Recipes for Coffees, Hot Chocolates & More with recipes by Hannah Miles, Ryland Peters & Small. Photograph by Steve Palmer © Ryland Peters & Small