Check out these from-scratch drinks, plus ideas for gift jars.

Since we’ve already had our first snow and Thanksgiving has come and gone, hot chocolate season is definitely upon us. While most folks likely have some store-bought mix in the cupboard, making the warm drink from scratch can be a fun family activity.

The Columbus Dispatch shared a great recipe last winter: Triple Hot Chocolate from The Washington Post. This recipe includes wet and dry ingredients, so it’s something you’ll want to make and serve on the same day.

If you’re looking for a family project that also has holiday gift potential, check out this recipe for making dry hot chocolate mix that can be artfully arranged in a glass jar. 

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If you’re feeling especially adventurous, consider visiting some local restaurants and coffee shops to try different versions of the treat. The folks at Experience Columbus have put together a list of must-try drinks. To it, I personally would add La Chatelaine French Bakery & Bistro, which has locations in Dublin, Upper Arlington and Worthington. Their Signature Chocolat Chaud is a delicious ode to whipped cream. 

Peppermint Stick Cocoa

Here’s a recipe we first shared in our “Holiday Treats in a Jar” story. It’s a good gift for neighbors, teachers or family members. Older children can make it themselves, while younger children might need help with the measuring. The mix will fill a 1-quart mason jar. 

Ingredients:

1 cup powdered milk

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup miniature chocolate chips

½ cup of crushed peppermint candy (or ¼ cup of crushed peppermint candy and ¼ cup of miniature marshmallows)

Using a funnel or measuring cup, pour the ingredients into the jar, one at a time to create layers. Start with the powdered milk. You may have to lightly tap the jar in between ingredients to level the layers out.

Instead of having children add an entire cup of the ingredient at once, give them a smaller measuring cup and have them add a little at a time. We found there were fewer spills this way.

Tip: The jars look a little fancier if you layer ¼ cup of chocolate chips on either side of the sugar.

Be sure to attach a card with the instructions for making the hot chocolate!

How to make it:

Before making the hot chocolate, thoroughly mix the contents of the jar in a large bowl. Return the mixture to the jar. For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water or hot milk.

Cheers and stay warm!