This year I decided our neighbor & teacher holiday gift would be homemade vanilla hot chocolate. I figured it would be easier than making and decorating oodles of cookies. I was wrong. Well, only because I QUADRUPLED the recipe. And ended up having to grind about 10 pounds of chocolate. With a Cuisiniart mini-prep. Yeah, it was a feat.
BUT…the vanilla hot chocolate is delicious! And a fun, unique gift to give friends for the holidays! You’ll find the recipe at the bottom of this post.
A few quick notes. I have a Cuisinart mini-prep, which is what I used to grind the chocolate. It works fine…but if you DO have a bigger food processor, use it!
This is the recipe I used the vanilla beans for. I saved the sugar-coated bean pods after I was done making the vanilla sugar…I figure I can use them in other recipes, even though the seeds are gone.
If you plan on making TONS and TONS and TONS like I did…you’re going to need BIG bowls. I ended up having to use three giant bowls and mixing all the ingredients between the three bowls, trying to evenly distribute the ingredients by mixing and remixing the contents of each bowl.
No matter what amount you make, be prepared to have chocolate coating your kitchen. Also, I wore a towel over my face because I was literally inhaling cocoa powder when mixing it all together. That all said, if you don’t double (or triple…or quadruple!) the recipe, you’re not going to run into any of these issues.
Here was the final product. Aren’t they cute? I used some free gift tag templates from HP with matching ribbon.
Vanilla Hot Chocolate Mix
From Epicurious, makes about 10 cups
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split crosswise (see tips, below)
- 1 1/2 pounds high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process (see tips, below)
Place sugar in large bowl. Split half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into sugar, and add pod. Work seeds in with your fingers. Cover snugly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
In food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate until finely ground.
Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend.
Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
To serve, Jane’s instructions: I heat 2 cups of milk over the stove and whisk in about 1/3 cup of the mix. You can also heat the milk in the microwave and it works…but the stove is a little better. If you like it richer, add more mix!
Jane Note: I used 16 oz mason jars and was able to put ~1 3/4 cups of mix in each jar. When I quadrupled the recipe, I filled 19 jars, plus a little left over.
•Save the other half of the vanilla bean for another use, such as a second batch of vanilla sugar, which keeps indefinitely and can be used in baking, coffee, or simply to sprinkle on fruit or waffles.
•Dutch process cocoa has been treated with an alkaline solution, which gives it a darker color and less bitter flavor and makes it dissolve more easily.