Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homemade Holidays Gifts

Hi everyone.  Are you starting to freak out because Christmas is only 12 days away?  As the holidays approach, I am sure that you like everyone else, starts remembering all the people that you need to give a gift to.  Teachers, bus drivers, dance teachers, co-workers, etc……Of course you don’t have to, but it nice to thank those that do so much for you during the year by giving them a gift.  Obviously, I think the best give you can give anyone is Gourmet Rooster products.  That is a no brainer;)  But I do understand that there are some of you that just can’t make that happen.  For those of you that can’t find my products in a store, or order it from me for some reason, I have a cute gift idea that I will show you today.

This year, we (my kids and I) are making their teachers “Homemade Peppermint Hot Chocolate” baskets.  We live in Reno, and it has been below freezing these past few weeks.  Hot chocolate is a necessity.

In this basket, we put a jar of homemade peppermint hot chocolate, marshmallows, chocolate coated candy canes for stirring, and a nice porcelain
to go” coffee cup with a super cute “cozy” on it.  I will show you how to make the hot chocolate mix and chocolate coated candy canes, and I will tell you where to get the “cozies”.  If you are a moneybags, you could also throw in a gift card to a local coffee place.  I think teachers definitely need coffee to keep their spirits up.  Especially preschool teachers.  If it was appropriate, I would toss in some booze.  Especially for the preschool teachers;)

The homemade hot chocolate mix is super yummy and great to have on hand anyway.  I used unsweetened cocoa, non-dairy creamer (powder form), nonfat dry milk, sugar, a pinch of salt and peppermint crunch chips.  The peppermint crunch chips aren’t just busted up candy canes.  They are more like the texture of a candy cane.  They melt into the hot chocolate perfectly.  They are made by Andes…you know, the people that make those great “after dinner” mints.  If you can’t fine these particular chips, you can totally use busted up candy canes.  They just won’t melt as well.

I whisk all the ingredients together in a big bowl.  Then, I pour it into jars with tight fitting lids.  All this needs to become actual “hot chocolate” is boiling water or hot milk.  I love the addition of the peppermint in here.  This hot chocolate is creamy from the dry milk and non-dairy creamer, and minty from the peppermint chips.  This is a perfect hot drink for Christmas time.  I included directions on my jars……”Add 3 tablespoons to 8 ounces of boiling water.  Stir with a candy cane and enjoy!”

I thought the chocolate covered candy canes would be a great stirrer, and just a cute accompaniment to the hot chocolate.  This was my kid’s favorite part. 

I melted chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.  I started the chips on 50% power for 1 minute.  Then, I stirred well.  I microwaved the chips in 30 second increments, on high, until the chips were melted and smooth. 

I dipped the ends (well, more than halfway up, actually) of the candy canes in the melted chocolate.  I placed the canes on foil to let the chocolate harden.  It will harden pretty quickly….in about 20 minutes.  I bagged these guys up, two to a bag.

Don’t forget the marshmallows!

Don’t you think this is such a cute idea?  It was easy too.  To be honest, my kids did most of this.  I just took the pictures;)

We got our coffee cups at a store down the street from us, but “to-go” coffee cups are available pretty much everywhere.  I bought the cozies off Etsy.com.  I found a wonderful lady who knits these cozies and sells them at affordable prices.  Her store’s address is www.etsy.com/shop/prednyspretties.  I wish I could knit, but since I can’t….I take help from Etsy.

Here is a picture of Addy enjoying her peppermint hot chocolate.  Even if you don’t have someone to give this too, the recipe for the hot chocolate mix is a winner.  You should make it for yourself!

Now, if you have read all of this and you still want Gourmet Rooster for gifts, and you just can’t stand the idea of hot chocolate….you can still order from me.  www.Gourmetrooster.com.  We still have time to ship, don’t worry;)

I will see you on Thursday with some more great ideas for homemade gifts!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix

2 cups non-fat dry milk powder

¾ cup sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa

½ cup peppermint chips (Andes)

½ cup non-dairy creamer (powder)

1/8 teaspoon salt

Whisk all ingredients together.  Store in a tightly covered container of resealable bag.

Makes 4 cups

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