Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hot Cocoa Mix (Holiday Gift Idea!)

I have to admit, I'm posting this recipe a few weeks earlier than I had planned.  My 18 year old brother sent me a Facebook message letting me know he was running low on the hot cocoa mix I'd made him several months ago (he puts a spoonful into his morning coffee).  I knew I needed to get to work making him a fresh batch asap.  According to my mom he tried to use store-bought mix in its place; but eventually he proclaimed that it just wasn't the same, and drank his coffee plain.

This recipe also comes in handy when I just want one mug of cocoa and don't want to go through the trouble of making a big pot on the stove.  Quite frankly, sometimes I get lazy in the winter... I call it my hibernation time.  Unlike a lot of commercial mixes, this mix is made of things that you'll find in a lot of home kitchens.  That means no hydrogenated coconut oil or ingredients you can't pronounce, just good old-fashioned deliciousness.

Paired with a couple of mugs and a big batch of iced sugar cookies, this hot cocoa mix makes a great holiday gift.  Last Christmas, I found a couple of mugs made from Vermont business Bennington Potters, and put the cookies and hot cocoa mix into glass canisters.  It was a great, budget-friendly gift that my whole family got to enjoy.

It's a pretty simple recipe, so there's not much more to say.  My brother taught me that this mix is good for more than just regular hot cocoa, so I'd love to hear if you have other suggestions for using it!

Hot Cocoa Mix
Makes: A big ol' canister full

2 3/4 c. powdered nonfat milk (Note: This should be in the baking aisle of your supermarket)
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 1/4 c. cocoa powder (Note: I prefer dutch-process cocoa powder, but regular cocoa powder works really well too. Dutch-process cocoa will produce more of a dark chocolate flavor, while regular cocoa powder gives the mix a more traditional milk chocolate flavor.)
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container.  To make hot cocoa:  Fill mug 1/3 full with hot cocoa mix; top with hot water and stir well.  Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, or cinnamon if desired.

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