Showing posts with label hot chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hot chocolate. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Cocoa gift for the holidays from author @DarylWoodGerber

There's nothing that feels better during the holidays than making something to give. Something from the heart. It could be a card. A personal ornament. A batch of cookies.

Or hot cocoa. 

This is a luscious gift your recipient can savor now, or in the months to come. Because this particular gift doesn't go "bad." Granted, it might not be as good a year from now, but it'll keep well for at least three months in a sealed tight jar. [I dare you to keep it that long!]

I learned about this recipe after seeing a picture on Pinterest last year, a few days before Christmas, but I didn't have a chance to share it with you. I have to say that the people I gave it to were so excited. Big smiles. What's not to like? It's rich and satisfying.


PS I can't for the life of me find the recipe via Pinterest again, so I'm sorry for "borrowing" from the Internet without making note of who designed this easy recipe.

Hot Cocoa for Christmas Gifts

(1 recipe makes 3-4 jars * I doubled the recipe in photos below)

2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (use a high-quality brand; I used Penzey’s)
2 ½ cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Small marshmallows * (see note Gluten-free)

Dump the ingredients into a bowl. Stir. Distribute into jars with lids. You can top with some marshmallows. Close the lid.

Add some ribbon and a tag with directions for your recipient to fill a mug half full with mix and then add steaming hot water.  Stir and enjoy!

You can handwrite a card...

Or print one out like this:

Note: * if you have a gluten-free recipient, don’t add marshmallows unless the marshmallows are gluten-free. FYI: Kraft Marshmallows are!  

Last gasp:  I had one cup left over after filling 6 jars. What to do? What to do?

Duh. I made myself a mug. 

You simply cannot be "grumpy" drinking this. 

Savor the mystery!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to All Our Readers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen

We hope you're having a wonderful day filled with family and friends and turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing and vegetables and pie--or whatever your favorite Thanksgiving traditions are! We are so grateful for your visits to our blog, for your comments, for reading our books, and for making our lives a little bit richer.

We thought it might be fun to share a few of our favorite foodie gifts--to make your mouth water while you're waiting for dinner. So if you're visiting this holiday season or want ideas for the elves in your lives, here are some ideas.

LUCY BURDETTE: For immediately edible treats, I'm mad for Nocciolato, an organic Nutella-like hazelnut spread that I use to make fudge (about $10.) I took the fudge when we were houseguests at our son’s prospective in-laws’ home—it was an instant sensation.

KRISTA DAVIS: I recommend Theo Pink Salted Caramels. Perfect caramels are enrobed in dark chocolate and sprinkled with exactly enough pink sea salt. About $7.50 for four little mouthwatering wonders. I added a box to our tip for the garbage collectors last Christmas, and our trash cans haven’t been tossed to the curb since.

SHEILA CONNOLLY: My grandmother used to arrive for Thanksgiving laden with foodie nibbles (since she lived in New York, they were pretty special): all kinds of nuts in the shell, dates, giant apples and grapes. Most of them I stuck up my nose at, but she also brought wonderful macaroons from what used to be Robert Day Dean's. I'm still hunting for any as good as those. Their decorated sugar and ginger cookies were also pretty spectacular. So if you're eating Thanksgiving with children: bring sweets (and if mom is worried about spoiling their appetites, just slip them a few tastes under the table).

aka AVERY AAMES: I love making a hot chocolate mix and putting it in a jar with a special spoon attached. I print out these directions. Dump all these things in a bowl: 2 cups powdered sugar; 1 cup cocoa; 2 1/2 cups powdered milk; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Stir. Put into jars. You can top with some marshmallows, but if you have a gluten-free recipient, don’t do that unless the marshmallows are gluten-free. FYI: Kraft Marshmallows are!  J Add a tag with directions to fill the mug half full with mix and then add steaming hot water. Stir and enjoy!

PEG COCHRAN: One of my favorite things to make and bring is a gift box (or bag) of homemade peanut brittle (recipe here).  Just add some fancy wrapping and you have a delicious hostess gift that can be nibbled after dinner or saved for another occasion (if you can resist the temptation!)

VICTORIA ABBOTT: Everyone we know is so busy.  We all want gifts that work for us. One gift that keeps on giving is a stash of refrigerator or freezer cookies. They'll be there the day or the week after when the busy hostess wants to put her feet up. She can slice off the exact number and enjoy cookies fresh from the oven without all the clean-up, with our without guests. We love to get them and this year we plan to give a brown sugar and almond version.  Or should it be the chocolate chip ones? Hmmm.

CLEO COYLE: For coffee lovers, a premium package of coffee makes a lovely gift. This year, Marc and I are excited to be giving our very own blend, "Billionaire's Blend," which was created by Holly O'Connor of One Good Woman Fine Coffees and Teas and her master roaster Shane in honor of our visit to their store in Eastern PA. The name of the blend is taken from our Coffeehouse Mystery, Billionaire Blend, and the customers liked it so much that Holly and Shane decided to keep roasting and selling it. Giving someone a gift with the word "Billionaire" in the title is a real hoot. And while this delicious blend is rich, the price is not (under $15.00 a pound, which is a good deal for premium, small-batch roasted coffee). To order it for yourself, simply call the toll free number at their shop 1-866-610-2872. Their staff is incredibly warm and friendly and they excel at fulfilling special orders. May you drink with joy!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Copycat Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha that Elf would Love by Cleo Coyle

New York City dazzles in December. The Big Apple is sparkling, magical...and a little coconuts

The crowds, the lines, the traffic...all of it can feel overwhelming, but then so are these little moments of happy surprise, like a Buddhist monk who digs the shopping at Macy's... 

Check out this smile...

In the middle of a crazy, busy, cell-phone yapping public, here is this sweet man, sharing a moment of joy...and that is what I hope each of you finds this season.

If you're having trouble finding it, I recommend a viewing of Will Ferrell's Elf. The film acknowledges our Age of Alienation but undercuts the snarky cynicism with humor, surprise, and a character so filled with innocent joy that it's impossible to dismiss him. (Okay, maybe some people dismiss him, but then some people are snark monsters, and I wouldn't let Elf get closer than hawking distance of them, anyway. :))

In the clip below,
Elf (Buddy) "Discovers" New York

...including the
"World's Best Cup of Coffee"


Which brings me to today's recipe. It may not be the world's best copycat Starbucks recipe, but it's pretty darn good; and, given Elf's love of drinking sweet things (especially syrup), I can't help but think he'd recommend this heavenly drink to the big man himself.

Cleo Coyle, who thinks
we should just say no to
"Bah! Humbug!", 
is author
The Coffeehouse 
Cleo Coyle's
Copycat Starbucks
White Chocolate Mocha

This is one amazing cuppa joe. It tastes like a rich, warm, coffee-infused milkshake--perfect for a snowy winter night. 

If you're a reader of my Coffeehouse Mysteries, you might also recognize this drink as one of the many recipes that I included in my yuletide culinary mystery Holiday Grind. To learn more about this book, click here. To learn more about my entire series, click here.

Enjoy the season, everyone!
~ Cleo

To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save or share, click the link below:


½ cup milk
¼ cup white chocolate, chopped;
    or white chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1–2 shots hot espresso or double-strength coffee
      (*see my note at the end of this recipe)
Whipped cream (optional)
White chocolate curls (**see my note below on how to make these) 


Step 1: Combine milk and white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan about one-third full of boiling water. (The water level should be under the bowl and not touching it.) Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. 

Step 2: Whip in the vanilla using a whisk, hand blender, or electric mixer. Continue to whip about a minute until the warm mixture is loosely frothy. 

Step 3: Pour the espresso into a large mug. Add the steamed white chocolate milk and stir to blend the flavors. You can top with whipped cream and white chocolate shavings, but it’s just as delicious without.

**Cleo Note: To create chocolate curls, start with a block of room temperature chocolate. (If you want to grate chocolate, chill or freeze it; but if you want to create curls, room temp is the ticket.) Using a simple vegetable peeler, scrape the block and you'll see curls of chocolate peel away (truly a thing of beauty). 

*Cleo Note: For double-strength coffee, simply make a strong version of your regular cup. For instance, in a drip coffee maker, instead of using 1½ - 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water, use 3 – 4 tablespoons and...

Drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of

My December Newsletter will be going
out this week! 
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that says Sign me up. All subscribers are
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To download more of my recipes 
or learn about my two national
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Congrats to my
Penzeys Spice winners!

Libby Dodd of


My Overnight Oatmeal Cookies
(no butter, no flour, but lots of tasty flavor)!
Click here to get the recipe.
Libby and Tamara left comments on my Overnight Oatmeal Cookie Brittle blog post and were chosen as winners by random number generator. Thanks to all of you who entered my contest and stay tuned for tasty new comment-to-win contests in the near future! ~ Cleo