Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hot Chocolate Weather?

It’s almost that time of year when we start thinking about hot chocolate; in fact I went to lunch yesterday with a friend and it was almost 70º outside and some ladies came into the restaurant where we were and ordered hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. It looked delicious.

Hot chocolate is a great way to warm up when it’s cold outside. It makes a great storage item, especially if you make your own mix. Here are a couple of homemade hot chocolate mixes for you to try as well as a warm orange drink mix. If you are the warm apple cider type, there is also a couple of Wassail Drink mixes.

I especially love the flavored hot chocolate mixes, raspberry being my favorite. With such a variety of powdered flavorings and extracts available, we can have any flavor we want, any time.

The first recipe is my old hot chocolate mix standby. It is made with instant powdered milk and makes a very large batch which stores well in a tightly covered container or makes a great gift in smaller decorated bottles as part of a gift basket.

The second hot chocolate mix is made with non-instant powdered milk and makes a smaller batch. It even has a one-cup recipe if you want to try it before making a larger batch. You can tweak any of these to your liking. Try dividing into several containers and adding marshmallows, crushed peppermint candy, powdered vanilla (or any extract). One lady mentioned that she likes to use different flavored powdered non-dairy creamers to make several different flavors of hot chocolate.

The mixes are designed to just add boiling water to, but for a richer drink add hot milk rather than hot water or additional powdered milk with your boiling water. If you like a more chocolaty drink, stir in some Dutch cocoa or add grated or chopped chocolate bits to your cup when adding boiling water. No limit to what you can come up with but it’s nice to have the mix on hand throughout the winter.

Hot Chocolate Mix
10 2/3 c. instant nonfat dry milk
1 ¾ c. powdered non-dairy creamer (6 oz.)
2 c. powdered sugar
2 ¾ c. instant chocolate drink mix (16 oz.)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Put in a large airtight container. Store in cool dry place. Use within 6 months. Y: 17 cups of mix. To use, add 3 T mix to 1 c. hot water.

Maren's Hot Cocoa Mix with variations
2 c. nonfat dry milk
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. non-dairy creamer
1 dash of salt
Miniature marshmallows, optional
Combine ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Yield 4 cups mix
To use Hot Cocoa Mix: Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of mix to your favorite mug and fill with boiling water. Stir to blend. Add some marshmallows or cream.
*Sometimes we like to add some miniature marshmallows to the mix and then fill a quart jar with the cocoa mix and miniature marshmallows combination. The marshmallows dry and get firm, but soften when hot water is added.
*Use flavored creamers (Powdered) such as Hazelnut, Irish Cream and French Vanilla and the others that are available and add to the mix as part or all of the creamer called for
*Add a package of Raspberry or Cherry unsweetened dry beverage mix (like Kool-Aid) to the cocoa mix. I think it makes it a bit tart-you will need to add more sugar. You might try only part of an envelope.
*Add one teaspoon of cinnamon to the cocoa mix
*Add a couple of drops of cherry extract to each hot cup to make it taste like a cherry cordial or a drop of almond extract and two drops of coconut extract to make it taste like an Almond Joy!
*Add cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla flavored sugar
*Add crushed peppermint stick/candy cane for mint in this cocoa

Single Cup/Trial Version of this recipe to see if you like it:
2 T. nonfat dry milk
1 T. sugar
1-1/2 t. cocoa
1-1/2 t. non-dairy creamer
Add boiling water and stir to dissolve.

Wassail Drink Mix
This is a simple combination of ingredients you can add to hot cider to make a delicious and warming drink for the holidays. Also try it in warm cranberry juice cocktail.
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground allspice
1 t. dried orange peel
Combine all ingredients and store in small airtight glass or plastic container. To use, stir a spoonful into a cup of hot apple juice, apple cider or cranberry juice cocktail. Serves 8
You can increase the ingredients, keeping the same proportions, to package and gift as gifts. And add other spices if you'd like, including ground ginger and cardamom

Wassail Drink Mix Using Brown Sugar (makes a larger batch)4 c. brown sugar
3 T. cinnamon
1 T. ground orange peel
1 T. cloves
1 T. allspice
1 T. nutmeg
Mix everything together, making sure that you break up the chunks of brown sugar.
To use: Add 1/2 cup of mix plus 1 cup of water to 2 cups of cider or juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until ingredients are dissolved and all is well combined. Enjoy!
*Note: For a single serving, use 2-3 Tablespoons to 1 cup of cider*

Russian Refresher (Warm Orange Drink)
2 c. orange powdered drink mix (like Tang)
1 envelope unsweetened powdered lemonade mix (2 qt. size)
2 c. granulated sugar
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. ground cloves
Combine ingredients and store in airtight container. Y: 4 c. mix. To use: add 1 T. mix to 1 c. hot water. Stir well.

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