When the holidays roll around, nothing is more pleasurable than curling up with a mug of hot cocoa. If you've enjoyed homemade hot cocoa, you know that store-bought packets don't come close to the real thing. Making your own hot cocoa mix at home is very easy to do with some simple baking ingredients. Homemade hot cocoa mix can also be packaged as a lovely gift for your hostess at any holiday party you're likely to attend. This recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen will help you create a delicious hot cocoa mix.
Things You'll Need
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, any kind
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Food processor
- 16-ounce mason jar
- 6-inch-long piece of red curling ribbon
- 12-inch-long piece of red satin ribbon
- Double-sided tape
- 1/3 cup of mini marshmallows
- 5-inch cellophane treat bag
- 1 candy cane
To Enjoy as Hot Chocolate
To prepare your hot cocoa mix, pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor until you obtain a fine powder. Then, use your homemade hot cocoa mix to create hot chocolate in one of two ways:
To a mug of hot water, add 3 tablespoons of your hot cocoa mix. Stir until the mix has dissolved.For a more authentic version, heat 1 cup of milk -- whole or 2 percent -- in the microwave or over the stove until it's hot and barely simmering. Pour the hot milk into a mug and add 3 tablespoons of your hot cocoa mix. Stir until the mix has dissolved.
Traditionally, hot chocolate has been topped with mini marshmallows or whipped cream. The mini marshmallows will slightly melt and provide an extra textural quality to the beverage, whereas the whipped cream will add an extra layer of creaminess to the overall drink. It's also perfectly fine to add both.
Any leftover hot cocoa mix can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two months.
If you don't have a food processor, grate the chocolate as fine as you can before mixing it in with the rest of the ingredients.
Make a Peppermint Variation
Mix things up by flavoring your hot cocoa mix with peppermint. Peppermint has a fresh quality to it that complements the sweet, rich taste of chocolate. To create a peppermint hot cocoa mix, swap out the vanilla extract out for 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint extract.
Enjoy your peppermint hot cocoa mix just as you would a standard hot cocoa mix, and garnish your finished beverage with a candy cane for a complementary touch.
Package the Mix as a Gift
To share your homemade hot cocoa mix as a gift, pour the mix into a mason jar and top it with the lid. Tie the red satin ribbon around the neck of the mason jar, creating a bow in the front.
Pour the mini marshmallows into the cellophane treat bag. Scrunch the treat bag together near the top, placing a candy cane against the gathered end of the treat bag. Tie the candy cane to the bag with the red curling ribbon.
Place a small piece of double-sided tape on the top of the mason jar and adhere the marshmallow-filled treat bag to the top of the jar.
Skip the Hot Cocoa Mix
If you want to skip making the hot cocoa mix and go straight to creating hot chocolate, bring 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of half-and-half to a simmer on the stove. Add in 1/4 cup of milk chocolate squares or chips and whisk until they are completely smooth.