Those of you who know me, know that my favorite treat of all is Hot Chocolate. There is something about the warm, dark, not too sweet, chocolaty flavor mixed with the smell of warm milk that makes me feel like all is right in the world. I don't even have to drink it, although I always do, but just holding a warm cup in my hands and smelling it makes me feel safe and secure.
So, I happen to have an abundance of empty Hot Chocolate containers floating around my house. If you don't you can pick up tins at dollar stores and even less expensively at thrift stores.
Now, I am too cheap to buy really good Hot Chocolate. I can be content with Nestles mixed with milk and warmed up in the microwave. But, many of my friends, knowing my obsession, give me cocoa mixes for gifts....... which I truly love, by the way! Once, Mike Bellande (some of you might know him) gave me a tin of Bellagio Italian Hot Chocolate. It was like drinking a brownie. It was so good in fact, that I looked for it online. As soon as I saw the price, my "frugal factor" kicked in and I went back to my Nestles! When you drink at least one cup a day you have to consider the expense!
So, here's how to give your friends a tin of hot cocoa without breaking the bank!
When I am not being lazy and using Nestles, I use variations of this simple recipe. CAUTION: It cannot be mixed with water! Only milk, as all hot chocolate should be made, in my opinion.
1 Cup Cocoa (I like a good Dutch Cocoa)
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix it together. For one serving, warm one cup of milk and add 2T of mix.
Here is a popular recipe from allrecipes.com that I might try too. This one can be mixed in water, but trust me, they always taste better mixed in milk.
6 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 (5 ounce) package non-instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup powdered chocolate drink mix
1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Mix it together. Dissolve 1/3 cup cocoa mix in 1 cup boiling water.
Some fun things to try when making cocoa mixes are replacing part of the sugar with candy canes or Werther's Originals that have been chopped finely in your blender or food processor. For the second recipe, you could replace the creamer with flavored varieties like hazelnut or vanilla.
To make the tin, I covered it in Be Good "Ribbons" paper. Then I added the strip of Yultide from the Oh Joy collection around the middle. I covered the edges of the Yultide paper with a bead of glue coated in silver glitter. The tag is cut from the Oh Joy journaling cards. I love the chocolate and mint colored ribbons to go along with the cocoa theme! My canister has a set in lid that was perfect for decorating. I added a bit of glitter to it too, just for good measure!
So get mixing and while you're at it, make yourself a cup. It is the closest thing to peace on earth!