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Give The Gift Of Cocoa

There are four full days left until Christmas Day (not including today).  That means the shopping malls are crazy madhouses and people are frantically running around to do their last minute shopping; clogging up the streets and freeways and definitely acting more Grinch-like than Christmas-Spirit-Like. Does this sound like you?  Lucky for you I have a solution!

Instead of running out to buy a $3 gift basket at the last moment for someone who might not even use the junk in said basket give the gift of something homemade.  Giving handmade gifts benefits the giver as much as the receiver.  You get to spend some therapeutic time in your kitchen getting messy (and tasting all the chocolates, of course!), they get a personalized gift that was made especially for them, and you get the pride and satisfaction of seeing people enjoy something that came directly from you.  Something that you made with your own hands bringing joy to others.  In my opinion, that is the greatest gift I can give to myself.  It’s probably a big part of why I am venturing into the culinary world.  People need to eat.  I feed people.  They are satisfied.  I am satisfied.

Layer hot cocoa ingredients in a pretty jar along with instructions for how to prepare this tasty beverage, pour chocolate ganache into molds. Pierce with a stick and you have Hot Cocoa On A Stick. Roll your ganache into tiny balls for custom chocolate truffles that can be enjoyed just by popping in your mouth or by melting into your favorite milk.

These chocolate truffles work with any of our previous hot cocoa beverages.  Add any flavor extract to your dark, light or white chocolate ganache to create a chocolate-orange truffle, a minty truffle, a cherry truffle, coconut or almond truffle.  Stir in some caramel prior to cooling your ganache and top with sea salt flakes for a salted caramel truffle treat. Roll your chocolate truffles in more melted chocolate for a shiny coating, or in cocoa powder or powdered sugar.  Top with sea salt flakes, orange zest, or coconut for a hint of what’s inside.

The first step of making truffles is making ganache.  You’ve been doing that all week, right?  Slightly alter the cream-to-chocolate ratio for a stiffer ganache, let cool, roll into balls and coat in desired topping.  It is simple, messy and so much fun!  Enjoy the process, then enjoy the delight on everyone’s face when they learn you have made these treats especially for them.

Layered Hot Cocoa

One Serving
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Six Servings
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

-Layer ingredients in a pretty jar
-Include gift tag with preparation instructions

Whisk together contents of jar with favorite milk
Heat over medium heat until hot
Serve in your favorite mug

Hot Cocoa On A Stick and
Hot Cocoa Truffles
Makes 36 small chocolate truffles or 15 large portions for hot cocoa on a stick

6 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
4 Ounces Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Flavored Extract
(Vanilla, Almond, Mint, Orange, Coconut…)

-Chop chocolate to 1/2 inch pieces and place in bowl about twice the size of the chocolate
-Heat cream (do not boil)
-Pour over chocolate
-Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted
-Stir in flavored extract of choice
-Cover with plastic wrap
-Refrigerate four hours or overnight

Hot Cocoa On A Stick
-Scoop out 2 Tablespoons of chocolate and form into a ball by rolling between palms (this gets very messy. Either wear food service gloves or clean hands very well prior to rolling.)
-Pierce with lollipop or popsicle stick
-Coat with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or melted chocolate
-Include instructions for preparation
Melt one hot chocolate on a stick in mug of your favorite milk

Chocolate Truffles
-Using portion scoop, measuring spoon or melon baller, scoop chocolate into small portions
-Roll between palms to form a ball (this gets very messy. Either wear food service gloves or clean hands very well prior to rolling.)
-Place chocolate balls on parchment paper lined cookie sheet
-Roll chocolate truffles in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or dip in melted chocolate
-Top with orange zest, shredded coconut, or sea salt to signal what flavor is inside the truffle
These can be eaten as is or melted in your favorite milk

0 thoughts on “Give The Gift Of Cocoa”

  1. So I’m trying to make an instant hot chocolate recipe for a great-grandpa, who might find heating a mug of milk more troublesome than boiling some water. Most recipes include non-fat dry milk and non-dairy dry creamer, but I tried a few and they’re not great. I’m thinking of using your recipe, but including the dry milk and creamer so he can just add water. How much of each would you recommend? Let me know what you think!

    • I have looked at recipes for this type of mix, but I haven’t tested them. The basic recipe that I have found is my recipe plus 2 Cups Nonfat Dry Milk Powder and 1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Creamer. It’s just not going to come out the same when using water instead of milk. Even milk powder is thinner than milk. Definitely add spices to it like cinnamon and nutmeg to give a warmer flavor to compensate for the lack of creaminess.

      I will play around with the powdered recipes tomorrow and get back to you!

  2. I started with one recipe (not yours!), but it was a bit bland, so I kept fixing it up. I got it taste good, and I think the creamer is what makes it creamy, fortunately, but I couldn’t keep track of the exact amounts. I’m going to make another batch, and try your recommendation, and let you know how it turns out! (But probably not until tomorrow, since I’ve tested about 5 cups today!)

  3. I love the photos in this post. They are my favorite so far. Your new camera is great, but more than that you’re skilling up. Keep up the good work! Keep practicing. You have a good eye.


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