Christmas Gifts from my Kitchen – Hot Chocolate Spicy Mix
THEME: #225 CHRISTMAS TREATS
With Christmas approaching, I was hoping that my friends from this group would choose Christmas Gifts from your kitchen as opposed to the second option which was Curry Leaves. Don’t get me wrong, curry leaves too is a good theme but perhaps for a later time. For now wanted to jump onto the Christmas preparation bandwagon. Nowadays, Christmas is a festival celebrated by almost everyone even if they are not Christians. My family in UK tend to celebrate Christmas with the same fervor as Diwali or perhaps even more. You just cannot help but get into the joyous celebration mood because of the decorations, carol singing, festival deals in the shops etc.
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FROM MY KITCHEN
My hubby’s birthday falls on the same day as Christmas, as a result its always party time for us. Usually I like to celebrate it with friends and family whenever possible. That means I tend to gift my guests with home baked cookies or cakes. However, this year I thought that the gifts have to be different as we all get inundated with cakes and cookies around Christmas. When you really put your brains into full speed gear, gifts that you can make from your kitchen are endless. Not only are they edible, but are cheaper to make, adds a personal touch to a gift, are free from additives, preservatives, artificial colour and usually its more appreciated than any store bought gift. Have you noticed how sometimes you land up with a gift that you don’t like, or is not really useful to you or you don’t have an appropriate place in your home to display it? That’s why I prefer to give and receive edible gifts. You enjoy it and then its gone. Don’t get me wrong, I usually remember my favorites like a Sesame Halwa my best friend brought for me from London, it was super delicious. If its not edible then I prefer something that I can use as a prop for my photo shoots and food presentation.
Get everything you need ready
- You first need to decide what you’d like to make. Are you making one thing for all or are you going to gift them what they like? Usually with close friends and families we tend to know what they would prefer. Like a friend of ours always likes me to make red Chili Sauce as he loves to enjoy it with all the Indian snacks and with parathas. Make sure what you gift doesn’t have to be consumed immediately.
- Once you’ve got a list of what you’re going to prepare, next you need to get all the ingredients together.
- Also decide on how you’re going to package whatever you’re making. Bottles, recycled jars, fancy tins, wooden boxes, cake boxes, brown paper bags are some options.
- Decide on how you’re going to present it. Add ribbons, bows, pack it in little cloth bags, use Christmas trinkets and trimmings.
- Make whatever you’ve decided, pack it and its ready for gifting.
What Christmas Gifts you can make from your kitchen?
Here are some suggestions that are not cookies and cakes:
- Homemade Chocolate Sauce
- Homemade Chilli Sauce
- Homemade Schezwan Sauce
- Homemade Tamarind Sauce
- Homemade Passion Fruit or any other fruit sauce
- Passion Fruit Hot Sauce
Spice blends or Mixtures:
- Podi Masala – Check out the kind of spice mixture or podi Preethi makes at home
- Tea (Chai Masala)
- Garam Masala
- Taco Seasoning
- Bombay Mix Chocolate Bark
- Chocolate Medallions
- Cardamom Chocolate Fudge
- Coconut Chocolate
- Chocolate Pistachio Fudge
Pickles or Chutneys:
- Roasted Makhanas/Fox Nuts
- Roasted Makhana (Lotus Seeds) Roasted Snack with nuts, the way Archana makes it.
- Gur Makhana/Jaggery Makhana a sweet snack like my friend Swaty makes
- Turmeric Popcorn
- Popcorn and Nut Trail Mix
- Turmeric Aniseed Rusks
- Roasted Nuts
- Mango and Passion Fruit Jam
- Papaya Lemon Jam
- Orange Marmalade
- Peanut Butter which Poonam always makes at home
Ready Made Mixes:
- Homemade Granola
- Oat Mix, just mix quick cooking oats with chopped mixed nuts and dried fruits of your choice, cinnamon powder or any other spice mix for flavour and chia seeds.
- Buckwheat and Moong Khichdi Mix or any other khichdi mix
I made a mix of ½ cup rice, ½ cup moong dal and ½ cup buckwheat groats. Attach a handwritten recipe.
- Lentil Soup Mix
- Hot Chocolate Spicy Mix
Hot Chocolate Spicy Mix
Remember the friend I mentioned above, who brought some Sesame halwa for me, well, she also brought a mega packet of organic cacao powder for me during her last trip to UK. I decided to use the cacao powder to make a hot chocolate spicy mix. Because of the cold weather, hubby and I always feel like drinking something hot at night while watching telly. Tea and coffee are out as we’d probably stay awake the whole night, herbals teas is not what hubby likes so he insists on hot chocolate drink. As he is diabetic, I used coconut sugar instead of refined sugar. Adding spices makes it more tastier and warm.
Cacao vs Cocoa
Cacao is a tropical plant native to South America and is known as Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao is usually made by cold pressing unfrosted cacao beans and is usually pure. Cocoa powder is made from roasted cacao beans. Cacao is rich in iron and the amino acid called tryptophan. The body uses tryptophan to make serotonin a brain chemical which helps one to relax. Isn’t that a good enough reason to use cacao instead of cocoa powder. Cacao is usually without any sugar added to it. Inferior quality cocoa powders may contain cornstarch, sugar and milk powder.
So lets get to how I made this so easy Hot Chocolate Spicy Mix
HOT CHOCOLATE SPICY MIX
Makes about 1½ cups
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
½ tsp sea salt or Himalayan Pink Salt
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl till there are no lumps. Best is to sift it using a sieve.
- Store in an airtight container.
- To use hot chocolate spicy mix, add about 1-2 tbsp in one cup of hot milk.
- Serve it plain or add a bit of whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips, sprinkles or cocoa puff cereal.
- Add spices of your choice
- Add about ¼ cup nut powder like almond powder.
- For a more creamier hot chocolate drink add ¼ cup milk powder (dried milk).
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