Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hot Cocoa Mix- Chai Spice

Turns out that on a weeknight, between work and dinner there is really only time for a short project. Sophia and I made the Chai Spice Cocoa mix and it was fantastic. Since you already have directions and a recipe on my previous mix I will just add pics. If you would like to try it but don't want to make it order a 16oz jar from my Etsy store.

These pictures show, the chopped bittersweet chocolate, the sugar cocoa powder and chai powder mix, and pouring the total mix into the jar. We need to make up a more festive label though. That will be tonight project. I think this is going to make a delicious gift for the people on the list, can't wait to try the almond cocoa mix and the spicy mexican cocoa mix. I have a feeling these are going to be yummy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paper Candle Shades

So my second idea for small presents is to create a paper candle shade. I saw some really beautiful candlesticks on Etsy and cannot afford anything like that, but I thought it would be really cool to try and come up with a simpler but just as beautiful idea. So I am off to the paper store to find some lovely inspiration and searching the ends of the internet for stencil designs that i might be able to use to make a similar design. I am thinking that I need to use a frame so that there is little or no risk on the burning down the house thing. So this weekend I am going to try and make a beautiful paper shade with some dimensional cut outs. I will post lots of pics and directions if it turns out okay and if not well, I will post the pictures and maybe try again or maybe move on to a new and more practical idea.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jars of Hot Cocoa Mix

Today I am thinking of making jars of hot cocoa mix with my daughter for her to give as gifts to her teacher, and the secretary at my work, and maybe other people who deserve to be remembered with something thoughtful. Our budget is Super tight this year so over the next few weeks I am going to come up with, and execute ideas that make lovely presents for everyone on my list for as little money as possible. Since presents that require less money, tend to take more time to make Sophia and Desi and I are going to be working on small projects after school and before dinner and on bigger projects on Saturday afternoons.

First up is my idea for acquaintances who need more than just a card. I love to bake, and my children love to get messy in the kitchen so I am keeping this part kitchen themed. I can picture beautiful little jars of hot cocoa mix with directions and pretty handmade labels and lots of festive ribbon. Tonight we are going to try out three recipes: Almond Dark Chocolate Cocoa, Chai Tea Milk Chocolate Cocoa, and Spicy Mexican Cocoa. I figure that having some different flavors will take some of the kitschy out of this gift and make it memorable. When searching for hot cocoa recipes on the internet i found a bunch of dried milk and cocoa powder and sugar or powdered sugar recipes. To me that sounds like the same stuff you get in a box at the store. So I am going to make hot cocoa mix with chocolate to be added to hot milk.
Here is my basic recipe:

1/4 pound of Bittersweet baking Chocolate (grated)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (milk or dark your choice)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup white sugar

for the Chai tea recipe I am going to add 1/8 cup of Chai Tea powder (I found this at my local east Indian market) and mix that with the sugar
for the almond I am going to add 1/2 cup of Dried Almond Milk (I found this at the health food store)
for the Spicy Mexican Recipe I am going to add 2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

I wanted to layer these so they would look pretty in a jar, but I am thinking a nice mix will do better for preparing the hot cocoa. The directions will simply be to stir 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa mix into a glass of steaming hot milk. To heat milk can be done on the stove top on low heat so it doesn't scald or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

My daughter and I are going to make some of these up tonight and tomorrow I will post pics and reactions. If anyone wants to try out some of my recipes or suggest other delicious ideas I would love your comments.