12 Days of Christmas Music To Knock Your Socks Off (Day 8)

A discussion about Christmas music (and how some of us don’t like quite as many carols as we did when we were younger) ensued on my friend Chris’ Facebook Timeline today, and he introduced me to this amazing and fun song.

Forbidden Cookbook: Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix for Grown-Ups

So if you’re in need of a simple but delightful gift for anyone who might drop by unexpectedly on Christmas, or that cousin who has everything and is difficult to shop for but not difficult to love, or maybe you’re kids’ teachers — and if you have half an hour to put this all together — you might like this hot cocoa recipe I just developed tonight.

I started by researching other homemade hot cocoa recipes all over the Internet and found maybe a gazillion. I read as many as I could until my eyes glazed over to glean the basic mechanics and to figure out the common denominators that make homemade hot cocoa mix successful. Interestingly, every recipe I read had a relatively different ingredients list. They were all unique from each other in unexpected ways. So I came to an understanding of the baseline necessities, and then I put an ingredients list of my own together. I tested it and tasted it and added a few more things and tweaked the measurements, et voilà! Here’s what I finally landed on.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix for Grown-Ups

This recipe isn’t “for Grown-Ups” because it contains anything that kids can’t drink. Rather, this cup of hot chocolate has a less cloyingly sweet taste and a teensy bit of a festive kick to it than store-bought mixes, so you won’t feel pre-diabetic by the time you reach the end of your mug.

And since I was, in fact, making this batch to put into little jars to give to my kids’ teachers, the recipe is generous and yields probably at least 40 servings. Store it in an airtight jar.

*  3 c. nonfat dry milk powder
*  3 c. powdered sugar
*  1-1/2 c. Dutch-process red cocoa powder
*  1 (11-oz.) bag white chocolate chips
*  1/2 tsp. fine-grain salt
*  2 tsp. cornstarch
*  1 (11-oz.) bag vanilla baking chips
*  3 tsp. cinnamon

Whisk all the ingredients together in a very large bowl. Then pulse small batches of it in a food processor until the chocolate and vanilla chips are finely ground. Add 2 generous tablespoons to 6 oz. of hot water, stir, and enjoy!

A few notes:

I recommend mixing it with hot water rather than milk — although you certainly can use milk if you want a really mild, help-you-off-to-sleep kind of taste — only because water won’t dilute the flavor.

Prepare for your kitchen and you to get really dusty with cocoa powder. It’s gonna happen.

Spoon out a few servings into a decorative glass jar and put a ribbon on it to make a charming and delicious gift for pretty much any fall or winter occasion!

12 Days of Christmas Music To Knock Your Socks Off (Day 6)

This song is a little less traditional. I know it from the Barenaked Ladies Christmas music album, but I only just discovered tonight that it was from the soundtrack to one of the live-action Grinch movies, probably the one with Jim Carrey. I didn’t remember it from seeing the movie back in the day. Ah well. I like the song, at any rate, and since we’re currently experiencing a slight warming trend here in Houston (kind of a bummer, not gonna lie), we’re going with it.

12 Days of Christmas Music To Knock Your Socks Off (Day 5)

This one is for all of you traditionalists out there.

I loved this song when I was a child and used to sing it all the time. The record my parents had with this song was a collection of carols sung by Johnny Mathis, but I recently heard Nat King Cole’s version on the radio and thought it was pretty special. So here you go.