This year, Christmas was hard. I already told you that part. I wasn’t in the spirit at all and we were short funds because of the house. But we still managed to give everyone something…something I thought was pretty dern awesome. And we made it ourselves.
We made salted caramel hot chocolate! Jim made the caramel sauce and I made the hot chocolate mix and we wrapped them up together. I even stamped the little cards myself. It was a lot of fun, working with Jim and creating something special to give to all of our friends and family. And honestly, so much less stress than your usual shopping forever, wrapping late into the night and then stressing some more than people won’t like their gifts…or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, I thought this hot chocolate was to die for. The caramel sauce was smooth and rich and the hot chocolate was creamy and with the addition of a little something extra, it was more than your average packet of Swiss Miss.
Hot Chocolate Mix
1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered milk
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Before dividing the mix up into whatever containers you’re using (if you’re giving this as a gift), make some up and taste it. Before I got mine right, I tasted it a few times and added more cocoa powder because I like my stuff less sweet than most people, I think. Also, you can add more or even omit the cinnamon. Try other things, too. Pumpkin pie spice would make this a more spicy cocoa. I think it might be delicious to grind up some orange zest to add in. Or maybe some ground up chocolate chips to make it more chocolatey. You can also add more things as garnish.
For the salted caramel sauce, I used Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe. I’m going to just send you right over to her page because she does such an amazing job of instructing you on the process, complete with photos. I chose her recipe because she doesn’t use corn syrup. Since I had that issue with corn last year, I’ve tried to stay away from the stuff as best I can. We’ve made this recipe twice now and it has come out magnificently both times. And it’s delicious to boot! I also consulted her recipe (among others) for the hot cocoa mix when I was researching how to make it. Check that out too. That girl is amazing in the kitchen! You can always trust her recipes to come out (which cannot always be said, by the way) and be as delicious as they look in her photos.
Anyway, back to our gifts. We added cinnamon sticks and mini marshmallows as toppers, but as I said before, you can add pretty much anything that strikes your fancy. The hot chocolate powder (minus the cinnamon) would go with tons of different options: peppermint, orange, I might even try pumpkin because I love pumpkin that much.
A little late posting, but that was our gift to people this Christmas. I think we’ll do something similar next year…making something, I mean. It was fun and I think people enjoyed it.
Does anyone else do this for Christmas? Make something for each family and/or friend?