Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hot Chocolate Mix

Isn't this adorable?  These are the gifts we gave to one of the kids' Sunday School teachers.  I didn't add it up, but they probably cost no more than $2-3 each.  These are pint sized jars, which you can fill up 3 from this recipe.  It's basically sugar and chocolate, most of which is ground up real chocolate (as opposed to powder).  Which, I learned recently- makes this hot chocolate as opposed to hot cocoa.  Hot chocolate is made using chocolate bars or chips (that have cocoa butter in them); hot cocoa is made using just cocoa powder.

This mix makes delicious hot chocolate- it's smooth and perfectly chocolatey.  There's nothing overpowering in it, just rich, warm chocolate!  I got all the ingredients for this in the bulk section at WinCo.  The only thing this recipe was missing was a batch of homemade Peppermint Marshmallows!

The recipe calls for a food processor for mixing.  I'll tell you what I did, as a precaution- I tried using my blender, since my food processor is small.  That didn't work well at all- I think because the blender is tall, and since there was no liquid, it had a hard time pulling the chocolate near the blades (even with being a Vitamix!).  I then dumped it out and processed it in batches- which did work.  Next time (which there will be one!) I will do it in smaller batches in my food processor.  Just a head's up! :)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Hot Chocolate Mix
Printable version here

2 cups (14 oz.) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup (4 oz.) milk chocolate
1 cup (3 oz.) cocoa powder
Pinch of salt

[Note- you need to use a large food processor, or work in batches]

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sugar and vanilla and pulse for 5-6 seconds until well combined.

2. Coarsely chop the semi-sweet and milk chocolates (unless they're already chips) and add them to the bowl.  Pulse in 10 second intervals until finely ground and combined with the vanilla sugar.

3. Add the cocoa powder and salt, pulsing again until everything is well mixed.  The mix will be slightly coarse, like brown sugar.  Pour into a large glass or plastic jar for storing.

4. For each cup of hot chocolate, combine 1/4 cup of mix with 8 ounces of hot milk.  Stir until all of the chocolate is melted. (Store mix airtight for 6-9 months)

Yield: 24 8-ounce servings (6 cups of mix)

Recipe source: King Arthur Flour

Why I love it? I like that it's a Christmas (or anytime) goodie I can give away that the recipient doesn't have to eat right away.  Unlike cookies or something that can go stale, they can enjoy this treat for a while to come!  The drink comes out very smooth, chocolatey, and not overly sweet.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cinnamon Pecans

This is a recipe I pulled out of a MOPS magazine several years ago.  It has been sitting in my recipe binder ever since.  Had I known how easy & delicious it was, I would have made it many times by now!!  I made it recently to give as a Thanksgiving gift to my kids' Sunday School teachers (plus a thank you gift to the family members who hosted Thanksgiving).

They are really quick to make- about 5 minutes of prep, then just an hour to bake them in the oven.  I packaged them in half-pint (1 cup) canning jars, and was able to get 6 jars' worth of pecans.  I'm not sure exactly how long they stay fresh, as ours were gone within 4 days- but I think about a week should be fine.  The recipe cost about $7.25 to make, and including the jars, it still came out to under $2 per jar.

The pecans are crunchy, slightly sweet, and cinnamoney.  We ate them by themselves, but I think they would also make a great salad topping!  Everyone who ate them loved them!

Cinnamon Pecans
Printable version here

1 egg white
1 tsp. water
1 pound pecan halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250ยบ.  Beat egg white and water until frothy.  Add pecans, coat well.  In a small bowl, mix sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Add to nut mixture and mix well.  Spread on large, flat, buttered or greased pan (or a pan lined with parchment paper) and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Cool completely on pan before packaging.  Store pecans in an airtight container for up to a week.

Yield: about 6 cups

Recipe source: MomSense Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Why I love it? They are easy to make, delicious, and make a great gift!