Posted by: little sprout creations
December 13, 2010
In honor of the blizzard conditions in my beloved hometown of Chicago, today’s homemade gift idea is a “Snow Day” warm drinks and sweet treats gift set. It features three yummy drink and treat pairs, all tucked into a cute, reusable basket:
cinnamon vanilla ground coffee & vanilla almond biscotti
orange spice instant tea & winter spice tea cookies
fireside hot cocoa mix & cherry-vanilla marshmallows OR “midnight mint craving” hot cocoa mix & candy cane marshmallows
After blending up the drink mixes and baking up the sweet treats (recipes below), package them up in festive red and green coffee bags and clear plastic bags from The Container Store. Print out some matching labels (or have us make some for you!) and tuck them in to a small basket, filled with excelsior.
These gift sets are so simple to make (even the marshmallows!), but look impressive and taste great. Enjoy!
Drink Mix Recipes
Fireside Hot Cocoa Mix
8 qt box powdered milk
12 oz jar powdered creamer
8oz cocoa powder (add more for the true chocolate lover)
1lb powdered sugar
(add crushed candy cane to make “Midnight Mint Craving” cocoa mix.)
Mix ingredients, distribute into coffee bags (about 1-2 cups mix per bag). Use 1/3 cup mix with 1 cup boiling water.
Mix ingredients, distribute into coffee bags (about 1-2 cups mix per bag). Brew in coffeemaker as desired.
Sweet Treat Recipes
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice water, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
OPTIONAL: peppermint or cherry candy flavoring and red food coloring. (I use Wilton’s candy flavoring set.)
Mix powdered sugar and cornstarch. Spray 9×13” pan (glass or metal) with cooking spray, and coat in sugar/cornstarch mixture. Keep remaining mixture.
Place gelatin into bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of water. In small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cover and cook on medium high until mixture reaches 240 degrees (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from heat and pour into stand mixer bowl. Whip mixture on high for 15 minutes – should be lukewarm and thick. Add vanilla and optional flavorings during the last 2 minutes of whipping.
For cherry vanilla marshmallows, add red food coloring until a pink color is achieved. For candy cane marshmallows, add red food coloring but do not mix completely. Instead, swirl color around marshmallows for a marbled effect.
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Dust top with sugar/cornstarch mixture. Allow to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours. Cut using a pizza cutter and dust cubes with powdered sugar before packaging.
Preheat oven to 325. Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Stir in flour and spices. Shape into 4 logs that are 1 1/2” in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Slice logs into 1/2” slices and place 1” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until very pale golden brown.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Beat together oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in flour and baking powder to form a heavy dough. Divide dough in half. Form each piece into a roll as long as the cookie sheet. Press down to 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from baking sheet, slice into 1/2 inch slices, place slices cut-side up back onto cookie sheet and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly toasted.