It officially feels like winter here in Texas. The leaves are starting to fall, the air once thick with humidity is crisp and cool, and Texans have traded in their Nike tempo shorts for boots and parkas. It really seems more like fall to me however, because there is no snow!

Usually this time of year in Ottawa the ground is covered in snow and parka’s are a necessity, not a fashion statement. As a kid, I would spend hours playing in the snow. I would build snow forts and go ice skating with friends. There was only one thing that could drag me inside from my winter playground; hot cocoa.

I recently discovered Mexican hot chocolate at a local cafe called the Pearl Cup. It was decadent and rich of chocolate with a lovely kick of cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

After making my own maple marshmallows I decided to make my own Mexican hot chocolate mix. It’s very easy to do, and it lasts indefinitely. Making your own mix is also quite affordable, unlike the $4.00/cup you pay at a cafe.

Hot cocoa mix makes a great Christmas gift. You can package it in mason jars or decorative bags. Add a mug and a bag of homemade marshmallows and you have a thoughtful gift for anyone this holiday season. Enjoy!

3 cups non fat dry milk powder
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups cocoa powder
¾ cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
¼ Tsp. salt
2 Tsp. corn starch
½ Tsp. cinnamon
¼ Tsp. cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients.

In batches, pulse mixture in a food processor until smooth and well combined.

Store in a sealed container in a dry and dark place.

To make hot chocolate, put 1/3 cup of mixture into a mug and mix with hot water or milk.

Top with marshmallows and a sprinkle of cinnamon.