Wednesday, December 12, 2012

National Cocoa Day

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By Chef Diane

If it's chilly outside, and Jack Frost is finally nipping at your nose, it’s the perfect day to have a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Today is National Cocoa Day, and it’s a perfect cold weather drink to get you warmed up for the day.
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As many of you know, I love all things chocolate, well except bugs!  When I was younger, we used to go Christmas caroling for shut-ins from my church.  At the end of the night we would always have hot chocolate and cookies for our efforts.  This was always such a treat for me, since I never had it at home.

Not too long ago I discovered that McDonald's had hot chocolate.  Well, it was summer time, and not really the season for it, but I couldn’t resist when I saw those words on the menu, so I ordered a cup.  I instantly fell in love!  I went daily for a week and got a cup.

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Two years ago, when my son got married, I made some spice tea mix and put it in bags placed in a coffee cup from the place where he was married.  I learned then that most people aren't fans of spiced tea, so last year, for Christmas gifts I decided to make hot chocolate mix instead.  I found a recipe for a mix, placed it in jelly jars, added a peppermint stick for stirring, and bagged it up with a bright bow on top.  It was a success!  If you would like a nice easy gift for teachers or neighbors, or anyone, try this recipe from spoonful.com for a great success!

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Best Hot Cocoa Mix

Ingredients
  • 2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Directions
  1. Measure all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk them until they are evenly blended.
  2. Store the mix in a tightly covered container at room temperature until you're ready to package it. Makes about 4 cups of mix.


The secret ingredient in this mix is the mini chocolate chips, which melt when combined with the boiling water and give the cocoa an extra-rich flavor. The recipe makes enough for four gift-size portions, each of which can be measured into a small plastic bag and tucked into a cup or mug filled with mini marshmallows, candy stick stirrers, and a spoon. Wrap each filled gift cup in cellophane and don't forget to include a tag with the following instructions: "Spoon 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of cocoa mix into your cup (depending on the size), add boiling water, and stir well."

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