This holiday season, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas invites you to take a break from hectic seasonal shopping and planning to meet with friends and loved ones and warm up with cozy cocoa to create lasting memories.
Bonding over drinks is a delicious way to stay socially connected with the people you care about the most and it may ease holiday stress. Studies have shown that spending time together increases happiness and helps alleviate depression (Greatist.com).
Several ideas that add warmth to the holiday season:
• Give a DIY hot cocoa kit to a friend or loved one. Write your recipe on festive cardstock, stack cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a jar and pack in a basket with Nielsen-Massey Vanilla, Chocolate and Peppermint Extracts.
• Instead of using traditional toppings like marshmallows, try crumbled cookies, raspberries or a cherry on top of a steaming cup of hot cocoa. Stir in a cinnamon stick for an irresistible blend of sugar and spice.
• Invite friends and family over for a casual hot chocolate bar party. Set out mismatched mugs of various sizes, along with several types of hot cocoa, toppings and whipped cream. Use peppermint sticks for stirrers and have guests vote for their favorite concoction.
This recipe for Gourmet Peppermint Hot Cocoa from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, included below, is the perfect treat for a cozy night this holiday season. The rich cocoa in Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract mixes with cool peppermint for a decadent dessert perfect for a relaxing evening or holiday extravaganza.
⅓ cup unsweetened quality cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
1½ cups powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Place over medium-low heat and gradually whisk in milk and half-and-half until combined. Stirring occasionally, heat to desired temperature, being careful not to let the mixture boil. Stir in pure vanilla, peppermint and chocolate extracts.
Before serving, top with a Vanilla Bean Marshmallow. For an extra blast of peppermint, drop a peppermint candy in the bottom of each mug before serving.