Liv adores a nice steamy cup of Hot Chocolate on a chilly day, and she swears that the silky chocolate eases a winter cold and soothes her sore throat. Watching her prepare a cup, though, leaves me wondering if it's actually the chocolate drink she likes or the mounds of whipped cream she layers on top.
Last week's cold once again required a medicinal dose of Hot Chocolate and this version sang holiday praises with the addition of a decent dose of peppermint. And low and behold, a little internet research informed me that my girl is not so far off. Site after site recounted statements similar to the following:
The decongestant, expectorant, antiviral and astringent properties of Peppermint may help soothe sore throats and relieve dry cough, cold and nasal congestion.
So there we have it! Straight from current medical journals, peppermint really does help ease symptoms of the common cold.
Peppermint also brings a little joy to our holiday season with it's bright, fresh flavors, and we've put together a simple Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix, placed it in a pretty jar and added a bright red bow for the perfect small holiday gift. Add a fun mug, a peppermint stir stick, and you have a lovely homemade gift that is sure to bring a smile, or perhaps ease a cold.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix
Whether you are looking for a large or small batch, this silky hot chocolate will have you feeling wonderful in no time (cold or no cold!). Scaling becomes easy with a Recipe Conversion Calculator, and you can scale accordingly based on the size of your jar, or even make just a single cup. Our version makes about 4 servings.
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar (we used Swerve Sweetener)
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup finely chopped chocolate
hard peppermint candies or candy canes (we don't crush them ourselves as they tend to become sticky after being unwrapped.)
small bottle of Peppermint Extract
Layer the cocoa, sugar, cornstarch, chocolate and marshmallows into a jar and seal. Include an recipe card with instructions, along with either a few candy canes, hard peppermint candies or a small bottle of peppermint extract.
Alternatively, pour ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine, then place into a jar for gift giving. This allows the user to use a few spoonfuls in place of the whole batch.
--------------------------------To prepare Peppermint Hot Chocolate, add 4 cups of milk (or milk alternative) to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, for a few minutes and crush 1/4 cup of peppermint candies.
Add the ingredients from the jar along with the crushed candy cane, whisking until dissolved. Heat to desired temperature and serve.
Alternatively, give a small bottle of peppermint extract in place of the hard candies. We add 1 tsp of peppermint extract to 4 cups of milk.