If I had to sum this DIY project up quickly, I’d say it was certainly the tastiest I’ve ever done. My husband was very “disappointed” to hear I wanted to do a test kitchen on hot chocolates for this project to find the ultimate gift mix for fall and winter brides who right about now have favors and bridal party gifts on the mind. After quite a bit of mashing up of different recipes and proportions to create a recipe that sounded right to me, I finally found my perfect base…
… and then I built on it. I tested a few additional recipes that added a little something extra to the hot chocolate mixes to make them feel a little more luxurious and special. If you don’t see an upgraded recipe here that you’re interested in, or you want to incorporate a flavor or ingredient that is a part of your wedding, use the base to do some building on by yourself! You’ll want to prepare the cocoa about a week in advance to give the mixes enough time for flavors to combine properly in an airtight space before putting them in their individual vials.
Base Recipe: ½ Cup Sugar ¼ Cup Cocoa ¾ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract Dash of Salt
A Quick Word on Cocoa: Upgrade to Ghirardelli ground cocoa rather than your standard Hershey’s. I always keep a tub of it around the house for baking. The flavor difference alone is worth the extra few bucks – but it’s also easily accessible: check the baking aisle of your local supermarket or Target’s grocery section. It’s in a gold canister – you can’t miss it!
In a bowl, add sugar, cocoa, and salt and mix thoroughly until completely combined. Measure out vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon at a time, adding each to a different area of the bowl. Thoroughly combine (by hand or by mixer) vanilla extract with the sugar and cocoa mixture until the wet ingredient has been completely absorbed and the mixture is smooth with no visible lumps. Transfer to an airtight container for storage if you are not adding additional ingredients. Makes approximately four one-ounce servings.
Peppermint Patty: add ¼ – ½ Teaspoon* of Peppermint Extract and thoroughly combine, by hand or by mixer, until the wet ingredient has been completely absorbed and the cocoa is smooth with no visible lumps.
Butterscotch Bliss: add ¼ Cup of Butterscotch Chips into the mixture and combine thoroughly so they are evenly distributed throughout. They’ll melt in the warm milk and be positively sinful!
Almond Joy: add ¼ – ½ Teaspoon* of Almond Extract and thoroughly combine, by hand or by mixer, until the wet ingredient has been completely absorbed and the cocoa is smooth with no visible lumps.
Guilty Pleasure: add ¼ Cup of Bittersweet Chocolate Chips and ¼ Cup of Mini Marshmallows into the mixture and combine thoroughly so they are evenly distributed throughout for something rich and craveable!
Sunshine State: add ¼ – ½ Teaspoon* of Orange Extract and thoroughly combine, by hand or by mixer, until the wet ingredient has been completely absorbed and the cocoa is smooth with no visible lumps.
* : It should be said I highly favor using ½ teaspoon of all the extracts, but my husband prefers ¼ and wanted me to let you know that.