Years ago, when I first was looking seriously into making homemade gifts for sharing at Christmas, I stumbled across a newsletter that had recently begun publication–a housewife in Maine had started sharing ideas on frugality (a.k.a. “tightwaddery”) and I was hooked on some of those ideas from the very beginning. Amy Dacyczyn and all of the issues AND books connected with the Tightwad Gazette became a permanent part of my life!
One of the simple gift ideas that I’ve used repeatedly over the years is a recipe for homemade hot chocolate mix. I enjoy both the simplicity and the versatility of this mix–you can add cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spices (must put in a good word for my garam masala here) to suit the taste of whomever you are gifting with this, and some instant coffee added to the mix will make the mocha-lovers in your family smile. (Yes, Christina, I’m thinking of you!) I’ve not tried this yet, but with some adventurous chocolatiers out there putting curry powder, chili powder, cardamom, lavender and other unusual herbs and spices in their chocolates, it might be fun to play around with some of these and see if you can come up with something new that you might really love.
The mix can be put in a jar or plastic bag for gift-giving, suitably decorated, of course! Last year I made homemade marshmallows for the first time, and they were a welcome additional gift, perfect for floating and melting into a cup of steaming hot cocoa. (I’ll be sharing the Marshmallow recipe with you all tomorrow.) So, without further ado, here is the recipe:
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix,
from The Tightwad Gazette, Volume 1
10 2/3 c. dry milk
1 lb. Nestle’s Quik
6 oz. of non-dairy coffee creamer
1/3 c. confectioners sugar
Mix the ingredients in a large bowl and store in a covered container. To prepare hot cocoa, mix 1/2 cup of the mix with 1 cup of hot water.