Hot Cocoa Mix In A Jar

by Jamie on December 20, 2011

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Hot chocolate seems to be the staple for cold weather and the holiday season.  There’s something about a hot mug full of rich, chocolately goodness that propels you instantly back to your childhood. When hours of playing in the snow had ended, you’d wander into the house with rosy cheeks and a frosty little nose for a steaming mug of liquid gold – hot chocolate with marshmallows. If you were lucky, you might even find a gingersnap or two. I don’t know about you, but sipping hot chocolate on a snowy evening definitely instigates a flashback to those times and a healthy dose of nostalgia.

I remember sledding for hours on our hometown hill and looking forward to warming up fireside with a hot mug in hands brimming with mini marshmallows that I tried to strategically fish out with every sip.  I’d like to say that attempting to do that is also a distant memory, but who am I kidding, I totally still do that -  minus the whole sledding thing.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been taking a lot of time to concentrate on homemade, edible gifts that are way better than anything you’d buy in a store.  This Hot Cocoa Mix In A Jar is no exception.  Although it’s a delicious homemade gift on its own -  I couldn’t help whipping up a batch of homemade Vanilla Marshmallows to include for my nearest and dearest.

Making a rich decadent cocoa mix from scratch is almost as easy as ripping the top off of the Swiss-Miss packet and trust me, it’s  much tastier!  With a few simple ingredients including Dutch-process cocoa, confectioners’ sugar and powdered milk, it takes virtually no time to mix up batch. 

Presented in a beautiful shaped glass jar and fancied up with a homemade tag and festive red and white baker’s twine, it’ll look as though you spent hours making a unique and fabulous gift.  And of course the addition of the Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows makes it just a little sweeter! No one needs to know you churned out holiday gifts for the entire family in just a few hours, right?

Tag Info

- The jar seen in the photos is a Weck 3/4 Liter Mold Jar.

If you have a Silhouette Machine and are interested in the shapes and font I used, here is the info:
- Square Tag (Rudolph Reindeer Card) by Loni Stevens cut on light blue card stock with a 4.0 inch width (will be folded in half).
- Mittens (Cocoa, Mittens, and Hat) by KI Memorie cut on red card stock with a 1.0 inch width
- Font used is called Last Words
- Baker’s Twine was purchased from Amazon

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Hot Cocoa Mix

December 20th, 2011

Yield: 5 1/2 cups dry mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes


2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch


To Make The Mix

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until evenly incorporated.

2. Pour hot cocoa mix into an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.

To Make Hot Cocoa

Fill a mug half full with the hot cocoa mix and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container. This also works great with warm milk.


Alton Brown recommends adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mix; however, I omitted this ingredient.

Source: My Baking Addiction slightly adapted from Alton Brown

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Shaina December 20, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I adore this. The tag is perfect, and the Weck Jars are my favorite. I’m so obsessed. The circular marshmallows are just adorable, too.


avatar Asiya December 21, 2011 at 12:11 am

Looks so cute! I love homemade gifts…


avatar Lynn J December 21, 2011 at 12:55 am

These look so cute. I bought some Weck jars finally and I love them. Thanks for the great ideas.


avatar Ann December 21, 2011 at 2:23 am

Delicious! What a GREAT idea! I bet these go terrific with your marshmallows (which I’m headed to next!) I love hot cocoa!


avatar Madonna December 21, 2011 at 4:17 am

What a fun gift. Great presentation.


avatar Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers December 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

What a great idea! I also love the marshmallows! I think I’ll surprise my daughter and make marshmallows for her for Christmas!


avatar Fred @ Savorique December 21, 2011 at 7:31 am

Forget Alton Brown’s reco, I add cognac to my hot chocolate! ;)


avatar Casey@Good. Food. Stories. December 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Yes to cognac! I also like adding a little nocino (walnut liqueur).


avatar Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen December 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I’m on board with that idea! Mmm…..


avatar Linda Merillat Komondy November 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I like a little Bailey’s in my cocoa!


avatar rubytuesday December 21, 2011 at 7:51 am

You will find if you add the pinch of cayenne to the jar of mix it will kick up the chocolate flavor in intensity and it is not at all hot. Adding something a bit hot to chocolate and visa versa is done all the time in Mexico–quite traditional.If you leave out that ingredient you are shorting yourself in flavor.


avatar Kerry November 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Good point! – similar to many chili recipes that call for chocolate.

Fun post :) Checking into those homemade marshmallows now! I just posted about a home hot choc bar setup today!! Glad I found your recipe :D


avatar AmyRuth December 21, 2011 at 8:09 am

A Nostalgic idea and gift. Yes, thank you, I would love a steaming cup. Thanks for the reminder of a warm and welcoming idea. I have become fond of those jars and told friends about them. I think after Christmas I may place an order for me…. woohoo
Merry Christmas


avatar Laura December 21, 2011 at 8:59 am

Lovely idea! And I love the tag. Would you mind telling us where you got the string? I have seen it in a local store but is so expensive for the yardage they sell, I would love to find it online.

Happy Holidays!


avatar Jamie December 21, 2011 at 9:51 am

I purchased the twice from Amazon. Here is a link. Happy Holidays!


avatar boolie sluka December 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

Wow! Thank you so much for saving me this morning. I woke in a panic to realize I hadn’t made gifts for my office, and today is the holiday party! Luckily, I had all the ingredients and some jars that I didn’t use this canning season. You truly made my day (and my coworkers day, too!)!


avatar Becca December 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

Sadly, I have not had a chance to make/drink hot chocolate this year. :( But this recipe does look fantastic and like you said, hot chocolate is basically liquid gold. Maybe later this week I’ll make myself a mug of this stuff :)


avatar Chandler Watts December 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

looks great and perfect for gifts!


avatar Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray December 21, 2011 at 11:12 am

Yum! I’d love to do this for friends and family. :)


avatar Cookbook Queen December 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

I adore those cute jars!!

The tag, the cocoa mix, it’s all perfect. I don’t have a Silhouette, but I do have a Cricut Expression, I should try to use it for something like that.


avatar Jennie December 21, 2011 at 11:41 am

I’ve made the marshmellows – now I want to run home and make this hot chocolate mix. Yummmmy!!


avatar Rachel @ Baked by Rachel December 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm

That tag is SO cute. This would be so fun to give or receive! :)


avatar chinmayie @ love food eat December 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Perfect gift! I am making is today :)


avatar Chris @ TheKeenanCookBook December 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm

What a great gift idea. And I’m loving those marshmallows


avatar Melody Laxton December 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Is there a good vegan alternative to the powdered milk?

I’m lactose intolerant but love a good cup of cocoa.


avatar Paula November 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

You might want to try non dairy coffee creamer.


avatar Yvonne November 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm

How much of the non-dairy creamer would you use?


avatar Nicole December 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm

My sister is vegan, so I make her non-dairy cocoa mix all the time. I just leave out the powdered milk from the mix. Then she mixes it into hot soy or coconut milk instead of water. Loves it!

If you really want to add powdered milk to it, track down some powdered soy milk or powdered rice milk. Non-dairy creamer usually still has milk derivatives in it and is chocked full of crap.


avatar Candis December 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm

So to make the hot chocolate is it a 1:1 ratio of mix to water? Somehow 1/2 a mug of mix seems like a lot!


avatar Ann P December 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Wow, I love the way you packaged your hot chocolate mix! The tag and the string are so cute! I’m so impressed by your creativity :)


avatar Urban Wife December 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Is it really that easy?! Awesome.


avatar angela@spinachtiger December 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Such a nice idea. I’ve often wondered why cocoa in the package was really made of. Such cute tags too.


avatar Culinary Collage December 22, 2011 at 9:15 am

This is a great gift idea! I’ll have to try this next year.


avatar Lauren from Baklust December 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm

What a cute gift idea! I’ll have to remember this for next year!


avatar Lori @ RecipeGirl December 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Adorable. Love this DIY idea!


avatar Miranda @ The Pinterest Project December 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I am making a “breakfast in a basket” gift for my little sister for Christmas – this is the perfect addition! I just whipped up a batch, and had to taste test with a mug of it for myself. Threw in a handful of peppermint baking chips and Y-U-M. :) Thanks for the fun recipe!


avatar Ruth @ the tasty tRuth December 23, 2011 at 11:21 am

Homemade eatable (/drinkable) gifts are some of my absolute favorite to receive (I am a foodie, after all!). I love the simpleness of the recipe and creativity the decoration allows for. Happy holidays!


avatar K.A.L. March 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I totally agree Ruth @ the tasty tRuth


avatar Tickled Red December 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

These are too cute! I just love this idea Jamie :D


avatar Erin January 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I have made two different hot cocoa mixes for presents and both were huge hits! Going to have to try this one out too.


avatar K.A.L. March 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm

What a great idea for a gift for friends and family around the holiday season. Love this!


avatar Eszti November 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm

This idea is so adorable, and very doable, no special ingredients needed… You really are a genious! I’m giving this to every friends of mine this Christmas!


avatar Jamie November 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I hope you enjoy the recipe and sharing it with your friends! Have a very happy holiday season!


avatar Jaz November 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

What is the purpose of the corn starch in this recipe? Could I omit it?


avatar MBA December 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm

The corn starch is added to be used a thickening agent. I hope this helps and have a great day!


avatar Nicole December 9, 2012 at 2:13 am

Can you leave put the powdered milk?


avatar MBA December 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I’ve never tried the recipe without the powdered milk. Stop back and let me know how this works out. Good luck and have a great day!


avatar Reese Paige December 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I love this idea. Would you be able to provide a link as to where to get the Weck 3/4 Liter Mold Jar?


avatar SC December 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

Hi! I just stopped by and thought this looked awesome. Wanted to make some to give away but I didn’t have any milk powder. Just wondering if we could just leave it out and ask them to use hot milk instead? Also, would you know the amount of milk to use? thank you so much :)


avatar MBA December 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I have never tried this recipe without the milk powder. Stop back and let us know how it goes. Good luck and have a great day!


avatar Teresa December 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

What is the ratio of the dry mix to water? I’d like to know how many spoons to use. thanks!


avatar MBA January 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

I would use around 3 tablespoons of dry mix for one cup of milk or water. This can certainly be adjusted to for your tastes; however. Enjoy and have a great day!


avatar Jess January 11, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Would you say that would be 3T:8oz of water? I wonder because not all mugs are the same size. I want to use this recipe to make hot cocoa for 100ppl. I figure there are 88 T in one recipe. That should make 29c of cocoa right? Thanks!


avatar Jamie January 17, 2014 at 8:20 pm

I would estimate that 3TBS of mix be added to 8 ounces of water. I hope this helps.


avatar Kathi December 4, 2013 at 12:49 am

I wonder what milk powder you use. I found skimmed milk powder in our grocery store, but I doubt that it would taste good.
Has anybody tried it with skimmed milk powder?


avatar Jamie January 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Kathi, I’m sure skimmed milk powder would work fine. Your hot chocolate would just taste more like the diet versions you can find on shelves.
- Jamie


avatar Jenny December 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I must be doing something wrong. I’ve made this three times now and we just don’t like it. It’s chalky and has a distinct salty (not in a good way)and slightly bitter taste. I did add some powdered espresso and that seemed to help but still wouldn’t give this as a gift. I think I’m looking for that creamy and sweet milk chocolate flavor and this isn’t it. The marshmallow recipe is to die for though. Soooo easy and sooo very delicious!!! :)


avatar Joanne December 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

Hi..this sounds so simple u r amazing…
But could i ask for the powdered milk is there any particular brand that u use or i could juz use any type regardless..? Thanks


avatar Jamie December 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I just used the brand that I found at my local market. It was a big blue box, but I do not have it anymore to give you the exact brand. I hope this helps!


avatar Colleen Pastoor December 17, 2013 at 2:45 am

Delicious! I used this recipe to make cocoa for myself this year (loved it) and used it in my indoor picnic gift basket.

Posted about it and linked back to you! Thanks for the great recipe :)


avatar Jessica December 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm

What am I doing wrong?!?! It was so easy to make and then we tasted it…it’s clumpy and won’t dissolve no matter how much I stir it. I am not a fan of chewing little bits of my hot chocolate!


avatar Jamie January 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Jessica, sometimes if powdered milk is a bit older, it clumps. Make sure you’re using fresh for the mix. You should also be able to throw the mix you already have in a food processor and make sure it’s nice and fine.
- Jamie


avatar Teresa Shere February 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

I agree–the tag is cute–but I would, myself, stick to adding the hot water at the price of milk these days–it is outrageous!!!


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