Quick and Easy Hot Cocoa Mix

It’s that time of the year again. That’s right gift giving is in season. As winter approaches the hot drink are rolling. Now recently I have been invited to a few housewarming parties and the traditional gifts are fine and all, but with a tight budget and with the holidays coming around the corner I had to figure something quick and easy. Looking around the kitchen I was suddenly struck with a new idea for a gift. Something that will last and would be enjoyed by others and not just the host of the party. I figured “how about something in a jar and is easy to make?” Well at first I thought of cake mix, but what if the gift receiver doesn’t have an oven or can’t bake?, so I instead I went for the simple route. Hot Cocoa!

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Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa, dutch processed (I used Ghirardelli chocolate)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup instant coffee granules (I used Nescafe vanilla)

Step 1: Sift all the ingredients

Step 2: Stir to combine all the ingredients.

Step 3: Scoop or funnel the mixture into a mason jar and seal tightly.

Step 4: Store at room temperature and decorate it however you like

To make the hot cocoa drink just add 1-2 Tbsp. of mixture into a heat-proof mug and add in 1 cup of hot water or milk.

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Hot Nutella Coffee

Finding a stash of leftover whipped cream and half a jar of Nutella I thought of combining them. I wanted something hot, but that it didn’t require any real effort to make. So coffee came to mind. I’ve been going through a coffee phase and mocha has always been a favorite. Why not use Nutella.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 8 oz. hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp. Nutella
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream

Step 1: In a large mug, stir together hot coffee, 1 1/2 Tbsp. Nutella, cocoa powder and sugar. (Add more sugar to taste, if needed.)

Step 2: In a small bowl, add in remaining Nutella and 1 Tbsp. of the hot coffee mixture. Stir until Nutella has dissolved.

Step 4: Fold Nutella mixture into the whipped cream until incorporated.

Step 5: Top hot coffee mixture with whipped cream mixture.

Iced Coffee

After a night filled with films and junk food I really needed a pick me up in the morning. But since it’s now the summer time and I couldn’t stand the thought of drinking something even warm I figured why not iced coffee. And not just any old iced coffee, I wanted to make a Vietnamese iced coffee. Really easy and few ingredients to it. The great thing about this drink is that it is just as good when hot. This version isn’t as sweet as the traditional version, but I prefer it this way.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1 cup freshly brewed dark roast coffee (I will be using Seattle’s Best Level 5: Purple Bag)
  • 2-3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (Chilled in the refrigerator)
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Step 1: Spoon the sweetened condensed milk into 1 heat proof glass cup.

Step 2: Pour 1 cup of fresh coffee into the glass. (I recommend pouring it down the back of a spoon to reduce shifting the milk.)

Step 3: Top glass with 4 ice cubes each and stir together with a long-handled spoon.

Note: I like to add a dollop of freshly whipped cream to make it into a latte.

Cafe con Leche

While at a local breakfast joint in town I spotted a drink called Cafe con Leche. I wanted to try it and I fell in love. The smooth thick texture of the drink just melted my dislike of most coffee drinks. Adding some sugar had me hooked to the drink. Later on I wanted to recreate the drink.

Café con leche (Spanish: “coffee with milk”) is a Spanish coffee beverage. More similar to the Italian caffè latte than to the French café au lait, café con leche is a coffee beverage consisting of strong or bold coffee (sometimes espresso) mixed with scalded milk in approximately a 1:1 ratio. Sugar or sweetener is added according to taste.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp coffee per cup of water (use a darker roast, such as French roast, for best results)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
  • sugar to taste (I add 4 sugar cubes = 2 tsp)

Step 1: Place coffee in bottom of pre-warmed French press or compress it down in the filter of coffee maker.

Step 2: Add boiling water, replace lid (without lowering filter), and allow to brew for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Meanwhile, place milk in a small saucepan.

Step 4: Bring just to boiling point (the first larger bubble breaking on surface), then reduce heat to barely simmering.

Step 5: Simmer gently for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until coffee is done

Step 6: After the 5 minutes are up, depress plunger on press to strain grounds.

Step 7: Divide coffee evenly between 2 mugs.

Step 8: Add hot milk to each cup in equal amounts to coffee. (strain milk before adding)

Step 9: Sweeten to taste. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon, if desired.

Tips:

  • Instead of simmering the milk in a saucepan you can place it in the microwave and heat it until it is almost boiling

  • Once you’ve heated the milk and the coffee is ready, it is time to mix them. Everyone’s tastes are different and microwaves vary in how much power (watts) they use, so I can’t tell you exactly how much milk to use or how long to leave it in the microwave. I can tell you that the typical proportion is about 1/3 cup of coffee to 2/3 cup hot milk. I recommend putting 1/2 cup of hot milk in a mug first, then slowly adding the hot coffee. If it needs more of one or the other, you can add it until you get it just right!

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