With the holidays upon us, it’s time once again that I share with you some of my favorite, simple homemade holiday gifts. This wintertime staple is a quintessential way to deal with the frosty cold weather. This homemade version is made with only a few, all-natural ingredients and the bonus to making it yourself, besides the obvious, is the free reign to add whatever you’d like to it. If you like less sweet, opt for unsweetened chocolate, looking for a little more sweetness try bitter or semisweet chocolate instead. You can add cinnamon or cayenne or any other flavors you’d like (see the bottom of the post for flavor variations). Today I am sharing my recipe for a basic hot cocoa mix with a few suggestions at the end for extra add-ins, as well as a free printable label for you to print out, customize and add to your gift.
There’s nothing like giving the gift of tasty treats, made with love this time of year, but especially cozy, heart-warming decadence like this homemade Hot Cocoa Mix. Rich and luxurious without being excessively sweet. Download the included printable, customizable label, throw in some mini marshmallows, this is a great recipe if you want to make your own. Package it all up in a cute jar, include a tablespoon tied with a little ribbon or string and voila, the perfect holiday gift.
How-to Make Hot Cocoa Mix
Disclosure: Post sponsored by Crock-Pot® brand slow cooker & Mirum Shopper, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.
With the first day of winter upon us and Christmas just mere days away, the comforts and coziness of the season are in full force. All the holiday cookies, seasonally-inspired meals, traditional cocktails and so much more. But for me, nothing brings the taste of the season like some rich, creamy, homemade Hot Chocolate.
Wait, someone help me! How is it that Christmas is 4 days away? I feel like since Thanksgiving, life has been on 11 and the last few weeks just flew right on by. This is my absolute favorite time of the year and in a blink of an eye it’s nearly over.
Since wrapping up all of the end of the year client work and the last few holiday craft shows, getting every last web order shipped out all over the world, wrapping and shipping all of the presents to send back home to our families, finishing my advanced yoga teacher training and all of the various social engagements typical of this time of year, the time to just sit back and relax this season has felt super few and far between this holiday season. We have been taking the fleeting moments where we can get them. Every meal has felt rushed and I have been doing my best to squeeze in workouts and yoga time. Last weekend I finished my final hours of my 500-hour yoga teaching certification, yesterday the last of the packages shipped around 1pm and it finally felt like I could finally breath again.
In addition to the crazy schedules, this holiday season has actually brought some really wonderful cooler temps and grey skies here in Southern California, even a little rain. It has been so pleasant and such a welcomed change. With the crisp, cool weather we don’t get too much of here, I have found myself seeking out hot soups, stews and hot comforting drinks! I created this drink a few weeks back, literally in the middle of a thousand things going on. I wanted the rich creaminess of a good cup of hot cocoa but I also was in the mood for a good spicy chai. As a libra, decision making isn’t always my strong point, so I thought, let’s just throw the two together. How could two things that are so right, ever go wrong?
This time of year, I am all about the familiar comforting flavors of the holiday season. Gingerbread, cinnamon rolls, egg nog and of course, chocolate and peppermint, etc. The Starbucks Peppermint Mocha used to be one of my favs, but I just really don’t love all of those sugary syrups and other junk, plus since I prefer to avoid dairy, my only option there is soy milk, which I really don’t like drinking, either. That said, those flavors are the perfect way to get me in the holiday mood. We have been known to go out of our way to get peppermint mochas, just to sip on while we pick out our tree or check out the holiday lights. It’s holiday perfection in a cup!
Though I am not a regular coffee drinker these days, I do enjoy a cup of joe – now and again. It’s a nice treat once in a while, but I love not being a slave to the caffeine like so many regular coffee drinkers. I only drink it when it sounds good, not because I have to. I find I enjoy coffee and coffee drinks so much more since I tend to indulge only about once a month or so.
This holiday season, I was determined to recreate the classic Peppermint Mocha, so that I could enjoy it without the junk. Dairy-free, refined sugar-free, made with high-quality ingredients! I am super happy with my homemade version, I like it better than any that could come in a cardboard cup with snowflakes on it. It’s thick and creamy, rich in chocolatey goodness and it has just the right amount of peppermint flavor. Read the rest of this entry »
There a some flavor combinations that for me are the classic quintessential tastes of the holiday season. The combination of chocolate and peppermint this is definitely one of those. For my final giftable recipe this month in my series with Free People, I thought a handmade gift that was not only pretty, but tasted amazing would be the best way to end things. Hot cocoa is not just for kids, but also for the kids at heart.
Layer the delicious ingredients for this homemade candy cane hot chocolate in a jar and add some fun decorative touches like a fresh clipping of evergreen, wrap fabric over the lid, tie twine or ribbon and add a pretty tag. It not only looks beautiful, but it is so tasty, too! The bonus is this hot cocoa mix is vegan and gluten-free and depending on the ingredients you use, low in refined sugars, as well.
On it’s own or with a nice mug to compliment it, this simple DIY gift is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face! It’s a great hostess gift, it’d perfect for the secret santa giveaway, or just a thoughtful handmade gift for the chocolate loving vegan in your life. This simple ratio of ingredients can also be used to make a small batch for yourself, anytime you’d like!
[print_this]Vegan Candy Cane Hot Cocoa Mix
Fills a 1 quart jar, makes 12 servings
- 1 cup powdered non-dairy milk, such as soy or rice (or powdered dairy milk, if you aren’t vegan)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (be sure it is vegan)
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar (or raw cane sugar)*
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup crushed vegan peppermint candy (these particular candy canes are great – no GMOs, no HFCS, no artificial dyes, etc )
- 1/2 cup vegan mini marshmallows
- A few additional mini or full-sized candy canes
Layer the powdered non-dairy milk, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and peppermint candy. If you’d like, you can add mini marshmallows to the top of the jar, if there is room or attach a plastic bag full to the jar. On the back of the gift tag, write:
“Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. For each serving, place 1/4 to 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water or non-dairy milk. Mix keeps in airtight container at room temperature for up to six months.”
If you wish to leave the powdered milk out, shake all of the remaining ingredients together (you may want to increase the ingredients by 25-50% to fill up the jar without the powdered non-dairy milk). Once fully mixed, add it to the jar and layer marshmallows on top, if there is room. Change the directions on the gift tag to read:
“For each serving, heat 8 ounces of your favorite non-dairy milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot (alternatively, microwave 2-1/2 minutes at full power). Whisk in 1/4 to 1/3 cup hot chocolate mix. Mix keeps in airtight container at room temperature for up to six months.”
*Consider making a homemade vanilla sugar first, using my recipe for vanilla sea salt, replacing the salt with sugar. Use an equal amount of the vanilla sugar instead of plain sugar in in this recipe and it takes it to a whole new level!!
**Note: if your container is a different size, just keep the ratio of ingredients constant.**[/print_this]
This recipe originally appeared on the Free People blog BLDG 25.