Happy Holidays!

I want to wish everyone good cheer, a happy holiday season, and all that other fun stuff.  This year my youngest is going on a trip with a friend of hers to Florida (we’re all insanely jealous).  They’re leaving Christmas night and then will be coming back right after New Year’s.  Strangely, I just realized after she leaves, I won’t see her again until 2012.  Gah!

Here we’ve been getting gifts ready for family, friends, and teachers.  I have a very simple, cheap yet thoughtful gift that we make.  It costs less than $2 per person.

First off,  buy a big pack of hot cocoa mix (you could also make your own, but for convenience  I buy it). I get a couple of the large 30 packs.  You’ll also need 65-70 plastic spoons,  2 packages white chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli), 4 regular-sized peppermint candy canes (not the tiny ones or the really big ones), a freezer bag, wax paper, treat bags (I get these at Michael’s–the red & white striped, but any will do), festive saran wrap or cellophane, and ribbon.

First off, cut off a large piece of wax paper.  Unwrap the candy canes and crush them in the freezer bag with a rolling pin  (not until you have a powder, but tiny chunks), and then dump them out into a bowl. In a different bowl, microwave one bag of the chocolate chips for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds. They should be melted after that…if not, only heat them up for 10-15 second intervals until melted.  Dip a plastic spoon in just so you have a nice spoonful of chocolate (not heaping or the chocolate will just fall off the sides). I usually scrape the bottom and sides of the spoon on the edge of the bowl, and set down on the wax paper. You’ll want to do this quickly before the chocolate hardens. Sprinkle some of the crushed candy cane over it and gently press it into the chocolate.   Once the chocolate is gone, make the second bag and repeat the process.

Once the chocolate is hard, you can cut the saran wrap or cellophane into squares, wrap them over the spoons, and tie with a ribbon.  Put 3-5 packs of the hot cocoa mix and a matching number of spoons into a treat bag, tie off, and you’re set!  This makes a great gift that people enjoy and think of you when they have a cup of hot cocoa. My kids like using the spoon as a popsicle and just eat the chocolate off the spoon.  These are simple to make and only take a few hours’ time.

You could also make these into popsicles instead. Rather than using spoons, use popsicle sticks. Just lay them out on the wax paper, pour a bit of chocolate over the stick to make the “popsicle,” sprinkle some crushed candy cane over it and let it set.

Happy Holidays!

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