By: Missy Sorg
It’s that time of year when the temperatures start to drop. It’s also that time of year when people find themselves up to their noses in cookies. We have the perfect solution to both “problems.” That solution is, of course, hot chocolate. A good cup of hot cocoa will help warm you up. It provides a perfect pairing for those Christmas cookies. (It also provides a great gift if you’re still looking for something for someone on your list.)
Before you grab your coat and keys and head to the grocery store to pick up a box of hot cocoa packets, take a moment and head to your pantry. Do you have granulated sugar? How about some salt? Perfect! I don’t know about you, but I always have cocoa on hand. Maybe it’s because I’m a baker. Maybe it’s because I just assume everyone else keeps cocoa powder on hand. Any way I look at it, you should have some unsweetened cocoa powder. Assuming that you do, you have the ingredients to make a homemade gift! And, we all know that homemade gifts show the recipient that you thought enough about them to avoid purchasing the reindeer socks and light-up Christmas bulb suspenders, right?
Now that you’ve pulled your sugar, cocoa, and salt from the pantry, we’ll need something to put this cocoa mix in once we’ve got it together. I find that a Mason jar makes a great gifting option. It’s useful to hold such things as homemade cocoa mix. You can add a nice bow and a tag. And, it looks nice once it’s finished. If you’re feeling a little bit craftier, you can print out and make envelopes for individual servings. (Don’t worry, we’ll include a template if you want to get that ambitious.)
Now that you have your method of packaging, let’s get down to it.
- All you need for the hot cocoa mix is:
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. I use a whisk to make sure it combines well. You can also use a spoon. Just make sure that you wind up with a well mixed, brown powder. You don’t want to have an offset of sugar and cocoa, or the top of the mix will be too much cocoa and not enough sugar while the bottom will be too much sugar and not enough cocoa. And, who wants to have that?
Once your cocoa powder is thoroughly mixed, you’ll have to let the recipient know the recipe to create the perfect cup of cocoa. Again, if you’re using the Mason jar option, you can tie a tag around the lid with the directions.
- Pour 1 cup milk*
- Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes
- Add 2 tablespoons hot cocoa mix
- Stir until dissolved
*Non-dairy milk options (i.e. almond or soy milk) work too!
If you’re using the envelope method, you can print the directions on each packet – being sure to measure out the two tablespoons of cocoa mix for each packet. (I also recommend putting the measured out mix into a Ziploc baggie before putting it in the packet. It’ll be less messy that way.)
Once you have everything measured out and packaged up, you’re ready to gift! You can also revel in the look on the recipient’s face when you tell them you made them the perfect winter gift to warm them as much as they warm your heart.