Just in time for (next?) Christmas 😉
Work with me here, folks.
I know it’s a little late to share a Christmas gift jar idea, but I just launched my blog, it’s taking me a little bit to learn the ropes and get into the swing of it, and my head was overflowing with so many Christmas ideas that I could write about them for weeks.
But I won’t do that to you.
So if you’re a Christmas Day purist (in the sense that the day after Christmas you start taking down all the decorations, refuse to listen to one more Christmas carol, and throw out the uneaten holiday cookies)….then you’re NOT going to like this. You can stop reading right now (and whatever you do….do NOT look at all the nice photos below that may contain “Christmasy” stuff), and maybe by next year I’ll catch you again before the holidays.
However, if you’re like me, there’s still just a little bit of Christmas spirit left unexpressed that can’t quite wait for another whole year. I’ve just seen a couple of pictures on Facebook of people with a Christmas tree still up; so I’m not that bad! (OK, now that I’m finally finishing this post mid-January, even I am ready to be done with Christmas…..but bear with me.)
The best thing about this idea is that it’s not just for Christmas!
Sure, my photos will demonstrate mostly “Christmasy” looking jars, but they can be decorated for any other appropriate holiday (Valentine’s Day Hot Cocoa Gift Jars, anyone? In which case, you’re actually EARLY.)
If you need a little housewarming gift or something to take to a hostess this winter, these will fit the bill.
So let’s get started.
First, you need to assemble a collection of jars. I used pint-sized mason jars, and adjusted the amounts from this recipe.
I also used an assortment of colors, including both blue and purple “vintage” colored jars for my gifts. Since the beauty of using jars for gifts is that they are reusable, I thought that some of my friends would love to receive a tinted jar.
For each pint jar, you will need the following ingredients:
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup powdered milk
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup miniature chocolate chips
¼ cup miniature marshmallows (you could also use a dehydrated marshmallow such as these)
Each pint gift jar makes six servings.
Gather up your ingredients, clear a nice, big space on your kitchen counter or table, and get layering! Start with the sugar and end with the marshmallows.
Here are some notes to make filling your jars a success:
-Use a canning jar funnel to help pour each layer into the jar.
-Be CAREFUL when adding each layer. It’s difficult to make the layers nice and even (even for a recovering perfectionist, like me), so take care and take your time, so as not to mix the layers.
-GENTLY tapping the jar and/or carefully “stirring” or smoothing the top layer with a utensil may help to even the layer you’re working on.
-Add extra marshmallows to the top of the jar to fill it completely. This will look better and more importantly, keep the ingredients from sliding around and mixing when moved.
Next, decorate your jars as you wish, including tying festive ribbons around them, and possibly a doily or sticker to adorn the lid. Attach a pretty tag with these simple instructions (I simplified them from the original recipe, per my husband’s advice): Mix contents. Use ⅓ cup cocoa mix per 1 cup boiling water (or milk). Store airtight.
Here are some Christmas tags I designed for my jars that I would like to share with you. 🙂
(*stay tuned…download coming soon!)
Obviously, if you’re not giving these for Christmas, you’ll need to “de-Christmasify” (that’s a word, right?) your tags.
(*download for winter tags coming soon!)
You could cut and paste these paper tags onto card stock or other heavy-weight paper for your tags and hole-punch them, or simply use appropriately sized store-bought gift tags like I did. (Do NOT buy them at full price, though, PLEASE! That’s a post for another day.)
You can really use any hot cocoa mix recipe you like or any size jar, but you’ll have to do the calculations to figure out how much of each ingredient to place in each different sized jar. You could also change up the add-ins if you like.
The hot chocolate mix recipe on this page looks like another version I may try next time. The addition of crushed candy canes looks festive and delicious.
I think my gift recipients all really liked their cocoa jars. We tried the cocoa mixture here at home and decided that it is REALLY chocolatey. That’s why I added the idea of using hot milk rather than hot water. I may try to adjust amounts a little differently next time around.
So that’s it, folks! Enjoy making and sharing these heart-warming presents with someone you love.
Have you ever made layered hot cocoa in jars, or do you have another exciting layered-in-a-jar recipe you’d like to share?