Liv arrived home from 6th grade camp a week ago bringing with her stories of starry skies, afternoon hikes and new friendships. In addition she brought a sniffly, yucky cold. Taking a much earned day off of school she informed me that hot chocolate would most definitely make her feel better.
A few years ago a friend gave us some packets of Hot Chocolate Mix for Christmas and Liv has always remembered those little powdery packets fondly. I, however, gained somewhat of a different opinion after reading the labels and not being able to identify a few of the ingredients. Filled with sugar and hydrogenated oils, I have refused to buy them for her again.
Luckily, Liv remembered a Girl Scout project we did making our own hot chocolate mix and we decided to alter it to make it peppermint (good for the cold I was told...). A little internet research turned up a number of recipes for hot chocolate mixes, but we decided to stick to our Girl Scout recipe that we have been using for years. A simple one to one mix of unsweetened cocoa, sugar (sometimes we use Splenda), grated dark chocolate, a dash of salt and a little scoop of cornstarch (Alton Brown's idea!) mix together for a nicely balanced, silky cup of steamy Hot Chocolate. For the peppermint, the general consensus seemed to be crushed candy canes, bringing a big smile to my sniffly girl's face.
We usually make this mix cup by cup, but the concoction works wonderfully layered in a pretty jar and tied with a ribbon as a holiday present, or maybe for a sick neighbor who needs a warm cup to ease a few aches or a stuffy nose. As pretty as the crushed candy canes are to layer, we tend not to put them in the jars as they seem to get a bit sticky over time. We simply tie a couple of canes onto the jar and attach a short recipe. Sure to bring a smile to the recipient's face, this easy holiday treat is not only tasty but fun to make!
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix
Liv - Liv Life
1 cup fat-free milk (or milk of your choice, soy works well too)
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa (Liv prefers Trader Joe's brand)
1 Tbs sugar (may sub a sugar substitute)
1 Tbs grated dark chocolate
scant 1/4 tsp corn starch
1 Tbs crushed candy cane
whipped cream or marshmallows for topping :)
Pour the milk into a small pot, heating over medium/medium low heat. Add the remaining ingredients, whisking to dissolve. Continue stirring as the chocolate milk heats until desired "hotness". Serve in a mug and top with whipped cream or a handful of marshmallows!
Note: To layer into a jar simply adjust the ingredient measures equally. Include directions on a little card to use 2-3 Tbs of the mix per cup of milk. The candy cane may be crushed or used to stir. Enjoy!