I actually love giving homemade food gifts, and while it does save money, I think it's a nice way to show people that you love them and were thinking of them while you were making and packaging their gift. I also love making gifts for other people to give to their friends, but that's another story. This hot cocoa gift is perfect for a gift. It's simple to make, it lasts a long time, it has two kinds of chocolate plus cocoa and vanilla sugar, and it makes a bulk quantity, so you can give it to many people. I made this last spring and gave it to my mom for her birthday. She's still enjoying it. And, if you don't like to share, and you drink a lot of hot cocoa, please make this and use it yourself. It's so much better than the packets you can buy or any of the standard mixes/syrups. My personal favorite way to drink this is with warm milk and a shot of Bailey's. Now that hits the spot, especially on Fridays when I don't have to go to work!
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
Makes about 19 cups of mix, about 75 mugs of cocoa.
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If you have vanilla sugar on hand, use that. If not, you can easily make your own. I highly recommend making a lot of it and storing it in your pantry. It lasts for a long time, and you can easily refill the canister with more sugar to make more. My new favorite use for it is in pie crust.
2 vanilla beans
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 pounds good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
9 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the middle out. Place the sugar in a large container that has a lid. Use your fingers to work the beans and middle filling into the sugar. Cover and let sit at least overnight. Remove the bean pods (you can use these to make more vanilla sugar).
Combine the chopped chocolates in your food processor and process for four second pulses until the chocolate is very finely ground. If you don't process this until it's very fine, the chocolate won't dissolve in the milk. Add in the cocoa powder and vanilla sugar and process until combined. Store in an airtight container for up to six months.
Serving instructions: Stir two tablespoons of the mix with 8 ounces of milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until the milk is warm and the cocoa is dissolved. Serve immediately.
Smaller Batch (2 1/2 cups):
To make a more manageable personal size, use the following quantities and the same instructions above. I recommend you make the 4 cups of vanilla sugar as above, but you'll only need to use 1 cup of it. Use the rest of the sugar for cookies, cakes, pies or anything where you want extra vanilla flavor.
1 cup vanilla sugar
6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
Source: Annie's Eats who got it from Confections of a Foodie Bride