Although we homeschool, one day each week H attends a public, homeschool program called Options which is running in many school districts throughout the Denver area. It's a wonderful program and "option" for homeschooling families.
Deciding what we'll give to teachers for Christmas can be entertaining around here. I want the children to be in the process of deciding and, often times, making. It is a good process, important, having the children at a young age thinking about what they will give to others. It is a welcomed break from all the anticipation of "getting" from our little ones. Last year we bought glittery paints and decorated ornaments with patterns for the teachers. This year we decided to make a special hot chocolate mix using extra jars we collect throughout the year.
This hot chocolate is Mexican style. The first time I tried Mexican hot chocolate, Espi and I were newly married visiting friends and family in Texas. I was given the Abuelita brand found in many stores. The touch of cinnamon stood out; it was very good. I like this recipe better, however, found in the cookbook Food for Friends: Homemade Gifts for Every Season, given to me almost 10 years ago by my sister. (This cookbook is, also, where we found our favorite sugar and gingerbread cookie recipes. Even though I have been gluten free (after tests came back positive for gluten intolerance almost 2 years ago), these cookie recipes are still our favorites because they work quite well simply replacing the wheat flour with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour at a 1:1 ratio. This book's a keeper.) The almonds, cinnamon, and cloves make this treat as comforting as a cup of chai tea in my world. It's worth sharing:
Mexican-Style Hot Chocolate Mix
Makes 1 cup mix, enough for 16 servings. The recipe multiples nicely by as much as four for larger-scale production, and will keep for about 6 months.
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons whole almonds (substituting almond meal or almond flour should work just fine)
1 ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine the sugar and almonds in a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground (again, just buying almond meal would save this step). Add the chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves and process again until the mixture is finely ground (I think this step makes the mix! Everything is evenly distributed and looks great.) Store in an airtight container.
Directions for making 1 cup hot chocolate:
Heat 1 cup milk or almond milk with 1 tablespoon mix and whisk until frothy.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
As a teacher for 9 years, I always had a hard time with all the baked goods and candies given for Christmas gifts. Sugar overload, for sure. I am thinking at least our teachers will be able to pace themselves with this treat if they want since it is good for up to 6 months. I always loved the personally written or painted gifts from the children. I know I still have some student cards tucked away in a folder. Gift cards were awesome, too!
As our children are young and new at giving, can you share what your children have enjoyed giving or making for their teachers? Do you remember a gift you gave a teacher as a child?