Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Homemade Gift Ideas...Involving Hot Chocolate!

During the holidays, I like to make homemade gifts for people as often as I can – usually edible homemade gifts. And although I’m sure people would be just as happy with (or maybe even prefer!) a gift card, I definitely enjoy the entire process – the baking, the assembling, the packaging...all of it.

I thought I’d share a couple of the gifts I made this year for the boys’ daycare teachers and classmates. They both happen to involve hot chocolate, and they are both absolutely delicious. I delivered them this morning to some very happy recipients!

For the boys’ teachers, I decided to make homemade hot cocoa mix. I bagged it up and placed it in festive coffee cups (that I found at the Dollar Store marked down to $.75 each, wooo!). Rather than packaging it with marshmallows or candy canes, I made dipping spoons to go along with the mix. Each teacher got six servings of cocoa, so each teacher got six spoons.

Here’s what I used for the spoons:

Melted peanut butter chips sprinkled with miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melted semi-sweet chocolate chips with toffee bits
Melted semi-sweet chocolate chips with Christmas sprinkles
Melted milk chocolate chips with marshmallows
Melted milk chocolate chips with finely crushed candy canes
Melted milk chocolate chips with shredded sweetened coconut

The combinations are endless. You could use caramels, too, or even something like strawberry or cherry hard candies.

I of course had to have a cup of the hot cocoa myself (you know, just to make sure it was edible), and it was just as good, if not better, than the prepackaged mixes. It’s so dark and rich and creamy, and really coats your mouth with that yummy chocolate flavor. I didn’t try it with one of the dipping spoons, but I imagine they’ll take it to a completely different level!

As for the boys’ classmates, I wanted something that I could package pretty simply and that would, obviously, be kid-friendly. It didn’t take me long to decide on this hot chocolate popcorn. What took me much longer to do was actually convince myself to give it away once I tried it, because you guys, this stuff is amazing! Kettle corn is mixed with marshmallows, coated with melted white chocolate, sprinkled with hot chocolate mix, and drizzled with milk chocolate. I KNOW.

I bought these cute little bags at the supermarket, which were the perfect size for the popcorn.

The hot cocoa mix, dipping spoons, and popcorn are all very quick and simple to make, so if you’re still looking for a gift idea for someone in your life, these are both great options. I think there are going to be some very happy kids and teachers at the daycare today!

Hot Cocoa Mix with Dipping Spoons
mix from Brown-Eyed Baker

For the mix:
(I doubled this recipe)

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the spoons:

Plastic spoons
Melted chocolate, peanut butter, and/or white chocolate chips
Marshmallows, coconut, crushed candy canes, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, toffee bits, etc., for sprinkling

1. Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

2. Dip each spoon in melted chocolate. Make sure the well of the spoon is full of chocolate. Place on wax paper and sprinkle with toppings while chocolate is still wet. Let harden before packaging.

3. To make hot cocoa, put 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk. Use a spoon for stirring.

Hot Chocolate Popcorn
adapted from Cookies and Cups

3 packages un-popped kettle corn
1 12-ounce bag white chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup powdered hot chocolate mix (2 packages)
4 ounces milk chocolate

1. Pop the popcorn.

2. In a large bowl, combine the popcorn and marshmallows.

3. Melt the white chocolate chips and drizzle on top of popcorn/marshmallow mix. Stir to coat evenly.

4. Spread the popcorn on a wax paper lined counter. Immediately sprinkle the hot chocolate mix on top of the wet popcorn.

5. Melt the milk chocolate and drizzle on top of popcorn. Let chocolate set.

6. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Erica (Irene) said...

These look great...what great gift. I'm sure they will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for sharing...Merry Christmas!!!!

Natalie said...

I love these homemade gift ideas! And I saw that popcorn mix the other day--I'm dying to make it!

Anonymous said...

"To: My friend". OMG. Too freaking cute.

Unknown said...

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