December 12th is National Cocoa Day!
Did you know that?
It doesn’t get any better than this! Homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows. It’s old fashioned, it’s comforting and it’s good for the soul.
Christmas isn’t just about presents. Yet Christmas is a festive celebration of giving—and the Christmas Kitchen is one of your best resources. It can be both an inspiration and a workshop for creating gifts that delight the heart and the soul . . . not to mention the taste buds.
And giving from your kitchen is its own reward.
What can be more satisfying than to whip up something beautiful and delicious, wrap it beautifully and imaginatively, and place it in someone else’s eager hands?
If your heart is telling you to dedicate a day or days to making gifts from the kitchen, I think you should listen. Much joy can be found putting a little more time and talent into your gifting than you can easily afford. It’s Christmas, after all! So put on some holiday music, maybe invite someone to help you, and go for it! You can even make extras of whatever you’re giving and keep them on hand for spur-of-the-moment gifting opportunities.
Through it all, remember that the best gifts, after all, are simply messengers. They’re concrete ways of saying, “I see you,” “I’m thinking about you,” “I care about you,” “I want to share this wonderful season with you.” And there are many ways to send that message. A shared cup of coffee and a cookie can be a gift. A phone call or a note can be a treasured gift. A meal for your family is a gift of love. There’s a gift in the stories that are told by the sink and stove, the memories that are made around the table.
All gifts from the Christmas Kitchen.
All fitting tributes to the One who is the greatest gift of all.
Cohen my first grandson making Gourmet Hot Cocoa with me for his teachers!
Gourmet Hot Cocoa Mix
This fancy version of a traditional hot cocoa mix is a perfect and yummy gift for teachers and neighbors—but keep some at home, too, for your family and for impromptu hospitality. (I love to add a little to my coffee.)
4 cups instant nonfat dry milk
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 cups powdered French vanilla nondairy coffee creamer
2 cups powdered chocolate milk mix (the store brand works just fine)
1 5-ounce package cook-and-serve (not instant) chocolate pudding mix
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups miniature marshmallows and/or miniature chocolate chips
Crushed candy canes.
Combine all ingredients and stir well.
Store in air tight container. Makes 8 cups mix, or 32 servings.
To serve, place ¼ cup mix in mug or cup. Add ¾ cup boiling water or hot milk and stir well.
To give as a gift, put mix in a pretty, covered glass container. Use ribbon to tie on two decorative mugs. You could also attach miniature bottles of liquid flavoring (cherry, amaretto, Irish crème, etc.) from a coffee shop, peppermint or cinnamon sticks for stirring, a lovely ornament . . . use your imagination. Be sure to attach the recipe or you will be getting calls for it!
• Minted Hot Cocoa Mix: Omit marshmallows and add 1 cup mint chocolate morsels.
• Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix: Omit marshmallows and add 2 tsp. cinnamon. If you’re brave, stir in a little cayenne pepper too.
• Rich Mocha Mix: Use mocha-flavored creamer and add 1 cup instant-coffee granules to mix.
• Guiltless Indulgence: Combine 3 cups nonfat dry milk, 1 cup artificial sweetener (such as Splenda), ½ cup unsweetened cocoa, and 1 small (.8 ounce) package fat-free, sugar-free vanilla pudding mix.
Always include recipes with any gift from your Christmas Kitchen. That way the recipients won’t be calling up at inconvenient times to ask for it, they’ll be forewarned of any ingredients they may be allergic to, and the recipe itself will be a bonus gift.
I always bring food instead of flowers as a hostess gift. Wrapping it beautifully will give the message that you don’t expect her to serve it immediately to the guests.
The Christmas Kitchen makes a wonderful Christmas and hostess gift. Bring some of this amazing cocoa mix with the cookbook!
Recipe from The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan. All rights reserved.