Christmas in February

Hello! Remember all those wonderful things I promised for December? Well… Life got in the way, as it tends to do. Happy Almost March! Here’s a belated Christmas post:

Every year for Christmas, I get together with a group of friends from college for dinner or some similar event. We usually have some debate over whether we’re going to have a white elephant gift exchange, which is one of my personal pet peeves (ever since I received a half-empty box of tissues during an exchange in my sorority). We nixed the idea this year, thank goodness, so I decided to do something fun and crafty which I’d never tried before: homemade hot cocoa mix. In jars! Oh, it’s just so Martha.

DSC 0007

There’s something so wonderfully rustic about glass jars, and I couldn’t wait to decorate these. I had purchased some fantastic Christmas-themed stamps from The Greeting Farm that I was dying to use on something, and I found that a healthy dose of Martha Stewart fine glitter and some snowy white flocking gave them that extra holiday magic. The stamps were cut out using my indispensable Fiskars Fingertip Swivel Craft Knife, and put on the front side of tags that had the instructions for making the hot cocoa on the back.

DSC 0008

I use Copic markers to color my stamped images, and on these sweet stamps I also added some white flocking on her dress and shawl, and some tiny red rhinestones in the holly in her hair, as well as one as a clasp on her shawl. These are close friends, so I don’t mind putting in the time and extra embellishments to make sure they have something special to take home. The stamps would have been cute simply colored, I just love the “ooh” factor when things sparkle.

DSC 0009

I went absolutely insane with the glitter on the Santa stamps! Her entire hat and dress are solid glitter (colored red underneath just in case I missed a spot), and she has white flocking on every bit of white you see. That’s a tricky process: not getting glitter in the flocking, or flocking in the glitter, especially when you’re not patient enough to wait for either to dry. I seemed to have more success flocking first, then glittering… in the opposite order, the flocking seemed to stick to the rougher texture of the glitter, and it’s hard to remove without brushing off large quantities of glitter.

DSC 0010

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

Ingredients

4 cups powdered milk

1 1/3 cups nestle cocoa powder

2/3 cup hershey special dark cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 tsp salt

11 candy canes

1/2 bag Hershey special dark chocolate chips


Directions

Use food processor to grind candy canes into powder

Add in rest of ingredients, blend

Mix in chips by hand

Split into jars

Crush one candy cane for each jar (put in ziplock bag, smash with side of mallet), add 5 chocolate chips for decor on top

 

Mix 3 tbsps mix with 1 cup hot water


The cocoa mix recipe started, like most things, with a basic recipe which I blatantly ignored, added to, re-mixed, tested, and changed again. By the time we settled on a peppermint hot cocoa (which tastes deliciously like creamy peppermint bark), the kitchen was covered in a fine layer of cocoa powder, and we had to go back to the grocery store for more candy canes. In purchasing a few too many ingredients, we ended up with extras, so my team at work also benefited from cute, smaller versions of the cocoa jars:

DSC 0005

All in all, a little bit messy, but an absolutely adorable handmade gift when you’re “not exchanging gifts” – because food definitely doesn’t count!