All the shopping is done and nearly all the gifts have been made and mailed, whew! Just a few little finishing touches left and wrapping to be done. Yesterday I sat and watched A Christmas Story and Elf while I wrapped gifts and drank hot cocoa--the only thing missing was snow gently falling outside the window, but it was lovely nonetheless.
Of all my homemade gifts this year, the one that turned out the best was making jars of spicy hot chocolate mix. I tweaked Alton Brown's recipe a little bit taking out the corn starch and adding some spices to make what I ended up labeling "Aztec Hot Chocolate Mix". I also mixed my finished mix with hot milk and not hot water--both because I removed the cornstarch and because it's much richer and tastier this way. This recipe makes 5 full 9oz jars with a little bit of room on top for adding cinnamon sticks and chocolate chips. Here's how I made it:
Aztec Hot Chocolate Mix
2.5 cups dry milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup dutched cocoa (I tried both the Droste and Ghirardelli)
1 tsp salt (a fine grain)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
chocolate chips (Ghirardelli milk chocolate are fantastic)
Mix all the ingredients (except the chips and cinnamon sticks these are for decorating the tops of the jars) with a whisk and put through a sieve if desired. Then divide up the mix into jars leaving an inch on top. Tap the jars down on the counter to tamp down mix, then place 2 cinnamon sticks on top and fill space around with chocolate chips. You add 2 tbs of mix to 8oz hot milk. Yum.
You can also make labels to print out on adhesive paper: