With both my boys in preschool, and both with multiple teachers, I was looking for a unique holiday idea for a small gift to give out. I wanted something other than the traditional baking, which I do anyway, and I wanted it to be something they could use. I happened to come across this adorable idea from Kathy Patalsky just at the right time! I fell in love with this idea instantly.
I already had a homemade hot cocoa mix that I had played around with before and wanted to work on some more, so it was perfect! I loved how her mix had some kick to it, so I added the spice factor to my previous mix, which was just sweet and salty. It’s not too spicy, just has a small hint as it’s going down. Her proportions of ingredients made for a great tasting drink, so I used them as a guide. I added a little more salt to mine, because I love the sweet and salty combo, and used chili powder instead of cayenne because it was a little less spicy. I also used chocolate chunks instead of marshmallows, mainly because I couldn’t find any marshmallows that were true vegan, and also that didn’t have refined sugar. But I loved the idea of putting the vanilla bean as a garnish! What a cute finishing touch. My next step was decor, so I headed to Michaels for some jars, ribbon, and holiday extras.
Since I love mason jars, I decided to stick with those. I wanted the look to be simple, with a touch of holiday, but not to loud or sparkly. I found some great little cards to place on the top, super easy to do: just unscrew the top of the jar, place your paper or fabric on the top and screw the outside ring back on.
Next I needed ribbon and I adore the look of natural burlap and twine so I headed in that direction. I couldn’t really get the burlap to look right, so I decided on twine. Plus, it went well with my simple theme and matched my tags.
Overall, I loved how these came together and I am super excited to pass them out! I’m definitely making more this week as thank you gifts and hostess gifts for a few holiday parties we are going to. They were really easy to do and a fun alternative to the normal baking or bottle of wine!
Sweet, Spicy & Salty Hot Cocoa
- 1 ½ cups coconut palm sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ vanilla bean, sliced into two pieces
- vegan chocolate chips for garnish (look for those without refined sugar)
Place everything except for chocolate chips and vanilla bean in a large bowl and mix well to get rid of clumps.Take vanilla bean specs out of half of the vanilla bean piece and combine into mixture.
Place into mason jar and top with chocolate chips and other vanilla bean piece for decor.
To drink: Use 3 Tbsp of cocoa mix for every cup of warm milk of choice. Make sure to mix well to avoid clumping.