Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Flavored Cocoa

I’m easing back into Blog Land from a week of family fellowship with my two favorite college girls.

Thanksgiving is over, and it’s is now permissible in Debbie Land to begin the Christmas traditions. The Christmas season, you see, doesn’t begin here until the day after Thanksgiving. I’m a purist of the most oddball sort. Yes, I realize it’s not the most convenient way to fly, but it’s just the way I am. Not so much as a sprig of holly comes into the house  until the sun sets on our Thanksgiving.

But then, lookout.

Cocoa is the official drink of the Christmas season, and our first batches are always made the day after Thanksgiving. Never mind that it was over 80 degrees on the day after Thanksgiving, it's the number on the calendar and not the one on the thermometer which determines that it is, indeed, cocoa season.

I’ve used the same base recipe for years, but it was much easier before Nestle started playing mind games with its packaging.  My recipe called for a two pound box of Nestle Quik, but the incredible shrinking Quik box has gone from 2 pounds...
to 28 ounces…
to at least one other random size...
before settling (for now) at 21.8 ounces.

I think they add that extra .8 just to irk the right side of my brain. It worked. Anyway, here’s our current base recipe. We use 1/3 cup of it for each mug of cocoa:

Basic Hot Chocolate

1 21.8 oz. box Nestle Quik
3 c. nonfat dry milk
(Use a good brand. It matters.)
3 c. powdered creamer*
3 c. powdered sugar

Now, we also make a sugar free batch because neither The Practical Daughter nor I are supposed to have refined sugar. In my opinion, it tastes even better.  It’s not any healthier because it uses artificial sweeteners, but it is sugar free, which means I can have several mugs a day if I have a mind to.

I generally have a mind to.

Sugar Free Hot Chocolate Mix

1 1b. Box No Sugar Added Nestle Quik
10.3 ounce sugar free French vanilla creamer
2 cups nonfat dry milk
1 cup sifted Splenda sweetener

And there you have it.

*From these two basic recipes, you can get creative and make all sorts of flavored Cocoas  to drink or give as gifts. Just change the flavor of the nondairy creamer. I recommend French vanilla, Peppermint Mocha and Vanilla Caramel. 

Since I have yet to find sugar free peppermint, last year, I made some sugar free peppermint cocoa by replacing the splenda with 20 sugar free peppermints ground until fine.

Oh my...
It. Was. Delicious.

Off to the classroom now.
Happy Christmas planning!

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Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Well I know you had a great week...the cocoa recipe sounds delicious (or as RR would say "DELISH" ) and I'm lookin' forward to seeing your Christmas progress...doesn't seem like I'm going to get much done so I'm countin' on you LOL.

gnee @ Singing With Birds said...

Hi Debbie,

Big sis and I are in the same's time for jingling bells now! So, Merry Christmas from Idaho.

Thanks for posting your delicious mix with and without sugar. Now just for me, try stevia if you haven't yet. I think in super markets you can buy Truvia, and in health type stores(Whole Foods), Stevia extract, plain and simple. It's pricey, but a little goes a long way. I use the liquid in my cocoa and herbal teas and just love it!

It sounds like your Thanksgiving week was perfect with the coeds. I'm so glad!

gnee @ Singing With Birds said...

So I'm packing and completely off balance....I just noticed your "Blog Button of the Week." Thank you so much and be watching for the new Christmas version soon!!!! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Ann said...

Good to see you back to blogging, Debbie. While Nick would play Christmas music ALL year long, we keep him from it until AFTER Thanksgiving Dinner. Then it's Christmas music all day all through the Christmas season.
We don't have a hot chocolate season. It's "whenever" around here for that. No mysterious recipe either ... just heat milk, add chocolate syrup or Nestle's Quick. Then, add either whip cream or marshmallows!
I actually like adding the whip cream to my coffee this time of year, even though I am usually a coffee purist.
I've decided on Red, White and Gold this year to decorate with ... but alas, we always have the green in there too ... the garland is green, as are our trees. But, we're only putting one up this year.
Now, I have to dig through the boxes and find our Christmas mugs ...

Jennie said...

Completely agree! There shall be no snowman or Christmas tree or spoken "Noel" in my house until Thanksgiving is over. As soon as 12:01am it's almost as if it's a race against the clock to get everything out as fast as possible though so I can enjoy it all to the max! Love your cocoa recipe. I will be sure to enjoy some with my littles this season. I have *lots* of things to look forward to this year. Hope your Thanksgiving was the best one yet.

FrouFrouBritches said...

YUM! I am ready for the cocoa!! I mixed up a batch like this and packaged them in cutre bags with cute labels for a winter wedding favor - my wedding favor. YUM! Never thought of adding flavor though. How smart! I might have to try that!

Lynn Richards said...

I too, wait until after Thanksgiving. I cannot bear to have Christmas in the house before. So, last night, I dragged out all the boxes and stacked them in the house. I keep thinking I will put up a little at a time this year, but usually I go beserk and put it all up in a day, cause if I take a week, it's almost Christmas!!
Do you have any treats you like when you feel you need some sugar? I am always going back to no refined sugar or white flour as much as possible....then I go out the door and loose my brain. So, I appreciate the sugar free cocoa mix!

Sonja said...

Before one more day passes, that sugar free recipe will be in my pantry! :)

Jane said...

The cocoa sounds wonderful! So perfect for Christmas gifts as well. Thanks for giving me a new idea!


Anonymous said...

I love hot cocoa, especially minty hot cocoa. I tried my first for this winter last week while I was home in the evening by myself, decorating. It was sooooo good.


Hi. Had to come visit. Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving with your family. Hot cocoa is also our favorite Christmas drink. We add a candy cane which gives it a peppermint twist and looks so festive; served with Christmas cookies can't be beat :).
Thanks for your Thanksgiving post. I was not aware of the pilgrim's stats. It is sad and mind-boggling how many people were lost. I also was not aware of the five kernels of corn. We are so blessed.
Hope you enjoy your Christmas season. Come sign up for my giveaway if you want.
~ Julie

Sharon Kirby said...

Oh dear! Christmas is RIGHT around the corner!!!

I'm going to have to try some of this delicious cocoa to ease my anxiety! Perhaps I can add a cookie or two (or dozen) to help calm me down. Maybe even a piece of candy or two (or fifty) might help, too...

Hope you had a wonderful holiday -


(p.s. Left you an email - answer whenever!!!)

Ms.Daisy said...

I am so looking forward to trying that sugar free cocoa mix. Most of the time I don't drink cocoa because of the sugar content! Thanks and happy decorating!


Kelli said...

Glad you're back! I know the week was filled with pure joy! I thought I was finished snacking for the evening until... I saw that steaming mug of hot chocolate!! I'm off to the kitchen! Thanks!

The Polka Dot Closet said...

I'm with you, no Christmas until Thanksgiving is over! I am going to make myself hot chocolate, the power of suggestion!


Denise said...

I had to make myself not put away all that fall stuff two weeks ago, but I did. I usually start the day after Thanksgiving but stuff happens...So, TODAY I'm putting most of it up. (Probably not all the trees but everything else). I'm so excited I can't wait for my hot cocoa all day. You know I love that recipe since I used it for shower hostess favors last year. And the die for.

Glad you had a minute to connect with us in blogland.

Chatty Crone said...

Now I have to admit I've never made homemade hot chocolate - maybe I'll give it a whirl!


Anonymous said...

Aunt Debbie,

Our entire house enjoyed your hot coco last night and I have to say I think it is the best batch you ever made! Thank you so much for the extra holiday cheer and your oh so generous daughter!

XO-Favorite Niece


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