If you’ve ever seen those cute, dry, pre-made cocoa mixes that people give as gifts, I’d like to share with you how to make your own DIY cocoa mix. I like to give these as gifts, but you can also just keep the mix at home for anytime you want a hot cocoa drink. These mixes do make fun gifts to hand out during Christmas, or the winter in general. These DIY cocoa mix gifts are really easy to make and you can customize them however you want. Grab some creativity, and make a list of these ingredients. Then, just head to the store, get your supplies and package these cocoa mixes up for someone special. All they’ll have to do is add water to make it when they’re ready to drink it up!
First of all, to put your DIY cocoa mix into a pretty, clear package for a nice display, you’re going to need a cone shaped bag. You’ll put ingredients into the bag in layers so it looks nice and pretty. The cone shaped bags are a prettier way to display the treats than just a regular Ziploc baggie, which can look cheap and tacky, and while I love my Ziplocs, I don’t want to give them away as gifts!
Next, you’ll want to add your cocoa to the mix of course! You don't want to buy sweetened pre-made drink varieties, as we'll be adding a sweetener and the dry milk later. Unsweetened baking cocoa is what you want. Add ¼ cup plain or dark cocoa baking powder to your bag, at the bottom of the bag. I like to buy Hershey's for both intense flavor and economical purposes. Besides, everyone loves Hershey's!
Up next is your dry milk powder, which you’ll also need ¼ of per bag. Add this layer on top of the cocoa powder. You can leave this out, but your recipients will have to add their own later, plus the dry milk powder adds a pretty white layer after the chocolate. You can even find dry vegan milk powders if you don’t tolerate dairy, or even use maca powder, which is a raw superfood that creams up nicely like milk does. It has a slightly butterscotch color, but would still be delicious!
Next, you need something to sweeten things up! Add 2 tbsp. your choice of powdered sweetener. If you are using pure stevia extract, which I like, it will be much stronger, so only use 2 tsp. You need to use a dry powder sweetener here as liquids can become sticky and won’t look pretty either. They’ll also clump up your entire recipe and be messy.
After you put your sweetener into the bag, add in 2 tbsp. real chocolate chips or cacao nibs. When heated with the other ingredients, this will lend a much richer flavor and taste than just plain cocoa. Plus, the display is really lovely as well.
Last, you can add some fun optional ingredients here. Many people use marshmallows, as it makes for a fun presentation, and most people like marshmallows on their cocoa. If you don't want to use marshmallows, feel free to use something like crushed bits of candy canes for a peppermint hot chocolate, or even white chocolate chips for a fun alternative. Another option is to leave it out completely, which is perfectly fine.
Next, you’ll want to secure everything with a twist tie at the top. This keeps everything from coming undone so it remains safe in the baggie. I do recommend buying those pretty holiday twist ties that are silvery and gold colors. This keeps it looking festive instead of the white, blue, red and green twist ties you find on loaf breads from the store. Twist it three or four times to make sure it’s nice and tight.
You’ll also want to make a pretty ribbon to go around your twist tie. This is fun for making it look pretty and festive too. I recommend using the curling ribbon you wrap gifts with, which is thin, and you can curl the ends with scissors to make it pretty.
For the last touch, you want to include a simple recipe for how someone can make this at home, and on the other side, just put their name. You can use a pre-made tag, but write small enough so the recipe fits, yet large enough where they can read it. You can also use an index card for this, which makes things easy, but it isn’t as pretty. All you need to write for the recipe is: “Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan. Stir in this tasty mix and stir with a spoon to prevent sticking. When everything is dissolved, pour into a mug and enjoy with someone special.” Or, of course, you can put your own little spin on the message!
If you have a fun recipe for your own hot chocolate mix, feel free to share which little tidbits you do differently. Have you ever gotten a DIY cocoa mix as a gift?
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