Appetizers

Mexican Hot Chocolate and Best Christmas Gift Ever for your man

mexican-hot-chocolate-and-best-christmas-gift-ever-for-your-man

The holidays wouldn’t be complete with a steaming cup of hot chocolate loaded down with marshmallows resting beside you as you bask in the glow of the fireplace. Well okay, maybe that sounds too much like a fairy tale to some of us. I myself will be feeding a newborn and chasing a 2 yr old around so I probably won’t be basking in the glow of the embers but as God as my witness I will have a steaming hot cup of cocoa during the day.

I have always wanted to make my own hot chocolate mix but every time I start to do it I remember how easy it is to just buy the store-bought version. However, I won’t be a regular at the grocery store for some time so I figured I would prep ahead of time and make my own hot chocolate mix in preparation for the weeks to come.

It really is super simple- even more simple than my recipe may make it out to be because like everything I do I tend to go all out. I decided that a simple chocolate mix wouldn’t do the trick. This year I needed something powerful, something so chocolatey and sweet and nutty that it would take the place of all the sleepless nights I would be having. Something to look forward to so to speak:) With that said, I decided to use the idea behind David Lebovitz Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe and add a few touches of my own like white and dark chocolate bites with crushed peppermint. Below is the recipe for the drink itself but if you want to make the hot chocolate mix for now to store for later then just omit the milk of course and zip up the mix in an air-tight bag. It keeps great for up to 2 months.

Mexican Hot Chocolate and Best Christmas Gift Ever for your man
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces of Mexican sweet chocolate, ground (use food processor and ground chocolate into tiny bits)
  • 1 ounce of white chocolate, ground (use food processor and ground chocolate into tiny bits)
  • 4 TBSP crushed peppermint candies ( I also grounded this in the food processor)
  • 1½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (by the good stuff)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper *optional
  • 2½ cups powdered milk (find this in the baking isle)
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. To make a drink, fill cup with ⅓ cup of cocoa mixture and pour in 1 cup hot milk. Stir to combine and enjoy! You can also use water if you prefer.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 10-12 servings

Now on to what is really important in today’st post and that is something I have just been itching to share with you all. As we all know my husband is an avid LSU fan and I wanted to do something for him this Christmas that incorporated LSU in some way. Shirts, jersey’s, prints, and collectibles have all been done in the past so I was kinda stumped as to what to get him this year. That is when I googled LSU coolers.  I remembered that a friend of ours had a wooden ice chest with the LSU logo on it and I was immediately excited about the idea of getting him something like this that would last forever. After scouring the internet I found the most amazing site called Cowboy Country Coolers that makes rustic wooden ice chest using gorgeous red cedar.

I didn’t know how much they cost or how soon I could get one made but all I knew was that I had to have one for my sweet husband. He deserves it after all and plus I was thinking I could really sweeten up to him as I have been in a prego mood for about oh 9 months now:) Anyway, so the coolers are simply stunning and I emailed the owner Craig to find out more information and see if I could get one made. To say that the owner Craig was so sweet and helpful would be an understatement. This man was so kind and engaged in the idea of making the cooler, the design, the timing and outcome that I was humbled to have even found him via the internet- talk about great customer service. He had never done an LSU cooler before so I was his first and he jumped at the chance to do something new and different than his usual designs. The design possibilities and options for his coolers are almost endless so make note of this when you see the coolers- if you are interested but want a different logo or design by all means just let him know and he will make it happen!

I had actually planned to hide it at my friends house until Christmas but I got soo itchy and excited about showing him that I gave in and presented it to him last weekend. Patrick was estatic over the ice chest. He absolutely loved it and couldn’t believe I had even thought to do something like this. Totally surprised and it was all worth it to see the look on his face. He was also throughly impressed with the actual cooler insert. It is a top of the line insulated igloo which according to my husband is “the most durable and best one you can get”. According to Cowboy Country Cooler’s site it also retains hot and cold longer that any other product on the market. Well, I guess I did a good job huh? I gave myself a pat on the back for a job well done:) How cute is the cooler?

Do you see what I mean girls? Whether your husband has a favorite sports team or not you can always give him an amazing gorgeous wooden ice chest that will last years and years and promises to be the talk of your guests, family and friends. Seriously, put this on your christmas or birthday to do’s and make sure to contact Cowboy Country Coolers fast so you can get on the list!

I asked Craig to answer a few question about his business and how he got started so we could get to know a little more about the amazing craftsman behind these coolers.  I always like to know the person behind the business and I hope you all will take a few moments to hear what he has to say!

1)  How did you get started in this business:

I have always loved woodworking – whether it is cabinetmaking or carpentry.  I guess it may be hereditary.  My grandfather spent hours in his wood shop and it was always one of my favorite places and favorite things to do – building stuff with Grandpa.  As I grew older, I acquired more and more of the tools necessary to create my own workshop.  I consider myself a perpetual student always trying to learn different ways to build things and finding different things to build.  I was approached some time back by a good friend who is the original designer and builder of the Cowboy Country Coolers.  He started it as a hobby and over the years it had grown to what it is today.  He is a licensed home inspector in the Dallas area and was becoming overwhelmed with inspections and was not able to give the cooler business the time it needed.  He asked if I was interested in taking over the business.  Something I immediately agreed to.  I had seen his work before and loved the design of the cooler.  I thought it was a perfect pairing of modern technology wrapped in the rustic skin of cedar, cast iron and brass.  We recently relocated the business from Dallas to the middle of Kansas where I am from originally.  We left the fast paced big city and are settling in to the much slower pace of the country life.  We purchased almost 50 acres of what my family and I feel is pure heaven.  Half of our land is woods and creek bed with the remainder of it being farm land.  I think most people would have to laugh seeing where I build coolers at this point.  I have had to make some changes to my workshop by moving it into the end of a small barn I am slowly restoring.  I think in the end though it will make the perfect place to craft Cowboy Country Coolers.

2)  Tell us some basic information about yourself and give us a few fun facts:

I grew up in Kansas. Born into an incredible set of parents and grandparents whom poured their life into my own.  We are blessed to only be 8 miles from my folks now.  My dad helps me almost everyday out on the “ranch.”  It is wonderful having him around.

My wife Julie and I have been married almost twenty-one years.  She is my best friend.  I can’t imagine what my life would be without her.  We love working together, whether it is building coolers or restoring/rebuilding houses (of which we have done to our last six houses).  Yes, we can even hang wallpaper together 🙂

We have two great kids and while most everyone says their kids are great, I really mean it!  God has blessed us with two of the most easygoing yet servant-hearted kids.  Scott, our son, is a senior in high school this year and our Daughter Erin is a freshman.  While it has taken some time to get used to going to school with 38 in a class instead of 500+, they are loving change.

Fun Facts

Not only do I love to work with wood, I enjoy building with metal just as much.  I have restored cars off and on over the last 30 years.

We moved to Dallas in 2001 so I could attend Dallas Theological Seminary.  I ended up with two degrees: a Master of Theology in Bible Exposition and a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling.  (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was a perpetual student 🙂

I worked as a Substance Abuse Counselor for 4 years in an inpatient treatment facility in Dallas.

I spent the last three years before moving to Kansas as an Associate/Counseling/Administrative Pastor for a small independent Bible church in Ovilla Texas.

My family and I are in the process of starting a ministry on our property that serves pastors and missionaries (among others) who need a place to rest, relax, and get away from the stress and pace of serving full time.  We are going to be building a few cabins in the woods where they can bring their families and be served.

3) What do you like the most about your work?

Probably the thing I like most about my work is seeing or hearing the customer’s reaction when they take delivery.  It really drives me to do my very best.  I probably spend more time on each cooler than I should but I see an individual who is wanting something out of the ordinary, yet very functional that makes a statement about who they are.  Most people I sell coolers to are hospitality minded.  They like to entertain.  The coolers I make are crafted to add to the setting.  A setting which is important to them.  When I make a cooler, I make them for an individual in mind.  I “see” the person I talked to on the phone or have been emailing back and forth.  I don’t make coolers just to make coolers. I make them one at a time, exactly the way the person wants it.  In a small way, I get to be a part of the celebrations.

4) Where do you hope to see your business going?

When someone asks me where I would like to see my business go, the last thing I want is for it to get too big.  I know that sounds crazy in a world that is driven to be ever expanding and pursue colossal growth.  Yes, I am doing it to help put groceries on the table, but it is much more than that.  If the business got too big, I would lose that connection with the customer I was talking about above.  It would begin to lose the individuality of each cooler.  I would no longer be making it for Joe or Wayne or Rose or Jessica, instead it would become an assembly line where coolers are made to get them out the door.  I know what you may be thinking – It’s a COOLER!  However, my feeling is that it is JOE’s cooler or JESSICA’s cooler – someone who spent time and resources to get something special and I want to do the very best to make it perfect for them.

Where I would like to see it go is adding some diversification.  I would like to the customer a few more options.  Something like patio chests/coolers made as a bench.  Also there are folks out there that like the old fashion footlocker-type chests.  I would also like to begin making cedar planters in the same style (My wife and mother will get the first of these).   I keep seeing things and experimenting with different ideas and designs.  I am always open to new ideas from customers.  It is good to have some challenges from time to time.

It’s the last day to enter the Beyora giveaway. A lucky reader can win a set of Rudolph and Friends ornaments with just a simple comment or like on their FB page. I got my set in the other day and I am so amazed and pleased at how beautiful and detailed they are. Win yours today. Click Here!

NOTE: The link for cowboy country coolers is not working at the moment. Please check back or visit Cowboy Country Coolers facebook page for contact info and more details.

58 Comments

  1. Three-Cookies

    Sounds extremely delicious, it has both powdered milk and fresh milk, and chocolate and cocoa.

    28 . Nov . 2011
  2. Erica

    YUMMMMMM! I want a glass. Hot chocolate so screams the holidays to me. I’ve never made my own powder before. Those coolers are totally adorable. Very tailgate worthy

    28 . Nov . 2011
  3. erica

    The hot chocolate looks so amazing. I have definitely been drinking why fair share lately. How neat is that cooler….I just might have to get it for someone. xo

    28 . Nov . 2011
  4. lindsay

    yum, i LOVE hot chocolate!! and those coolers are so cute. ben would love the john deere one…
    hope yall had a fabulous thanksgiving!
    xoxo

    28 . Nov . 2011
  5. daphne

    I didn’t know we can make hot chocolate like this at home! Just reading this makes me drool.

    And oh my goodness! You are almost due!! How time just seem to go by so quick. Cant wait for your news 😉

    28 . Nov . 2011
  6. Shawn

    Your chocolate looks so rich and creamy. I’m loving the idea of adding the mix to my list of gifts from the kitchen 🙂 That cooler is such a great idea!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  7. Collette Osuna

    Holy wow, does this look good……SOOOO muchbette rIm sure than store bought…Ill have to give it a try.
    The ice chest is pretty amazing too! Hope you had a great Turkey Day!!

    A Funky Little Fashion Blog

    28 . Nov . 2011
  8. yummychunklet

    The hot chocolate sounds wonderful! I’m definitely intrigued by the cayenne. I don’t know why I never thought of that before! Great gift ideas!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  9. Marina {Yummy Mummy}

    Why have I never made Mexican hot chocolate?! That must change ASAP. Thanks!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  10. Always Fashionable

    that cooler could not be any more cuter! My husband would go crazy for it. I am thinking I now have the perfect gift! Thanks so much and the hot chocolate looks amazing

    28 . Nov . 2011
  11. Greg

    I’m a big football fan, but that LSU cooler sure would make me popular here. I actually like the John Deere one, how great would that look in our kitchen. What a wonderful recipe too. Haven’t made hot chocolate yet this year!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  12. Velva

    I don’t even know where to start in my reply. There are so many good things happening in your post.

    First, congratulations in advance on your soon to be new arrival. That is awesome. The hot chocolate rocks. Love, love it.

    Have I mentioned that we are a big Gator Family ( very bad season-sigh). Our family will be cheering on LSU in the SEC championship, and hopefully for the National Title too. Not bad for two SEC teams to compete for the title.

    I will pass along your blog post. I can think of a couple of people who would enjoy a cooler like this one for their team. Thanks for sharing. It is a great gift idea.

    Cheers.
    Velva

    28 . Nov . 2011
  13. lena

    firstly, i need a sip of your chocolate drink pls!! i never thought of making my own choc mix at home..i’m going to keep this recipe! honestly, i have never seen a cooler like this..this is really a cool cooler! I’m smiling at all you wrote about your husband’s reaction and so excited to hear about the coming baby! Keep us posted!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  14. Sonia

    Hi There,
    This cup of hot mexican chocolate is looking AWESOME… !!!!!!! Simply loved ur pictures plus the xmas present you searched so hard for ur hubby dear. I’m sure he will like the gifts and ur sweet gestures of LSU hunt….! Excellent post and hope you had a rocking thanksgiving party with family n friends, regards, sonia !

    28 . Nov . 2011
  15. Bonnie

    Did I miss a baby post? Congratulations! There’s nothing like a new baby to make the holidays especially nice. Your hot chocolate sounds delicious and the beautiful photographs make it especially tempting!! Also enjoyed reading about the woodworking!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

    28 . Nov . 2011
  16. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite

    As Christmas approaches, I cannot wait to dig into some hot cocoa! My husband and I were just saying that we will need some cocoa this weekend while we decorate the tree and watch Christmas movies.

    I love that you incorporated real chocolate into this version!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  17. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray

    How fun! And that cocoa looks AMAZING!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  18. sportsglutton

    What a awesome gift and business as well. I’ll have to send this to my wife Liz and hope she gets the “hint.” Hope you had a great Turkey Day!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  19. Eva kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

    You must be getting so excited about your new baby’s birth! The hot chocolate sounds great.

    28 . Nov . 2011
  20. Caroline

    You’re right, it’s really not the holidays without multiple cups of hot chocolate! I’m not a fan of chocolate, but if it’s not too chocolately (I know, doesn’t even make sense), then I don’t mind drinking it, haha. If that LSU cooler said Ohio State instead, I would pounce on that for my dad. 😉

    28 . Nov . 2011
    • Kitchen Belleicious

      You l

      30 . Nov . 2011
      • Kitchen Belleicious

        What meant to say before my computer acted all weird on me is that I can’t believe you don’t like chocolate! Your such an incredible baker I just assumed you likes choc. And I am like that worg peanut butter- too much and I gag but just a little and it’s perfection

        30 . Nov . 2011
  21. Kelli

    where do I even begin to start? ….Well for starters I am in love with this hot coco and so excited how easy it is and how it can be made in advance for those crazy days where you really need a glass of wine but it is way to cold and know hot chocolate would do the trick! The kids are going to absolutely love this! You are truly amazing and know the right time to break out the right stuff.
    As far as G and the little one coming I wish I lived closer I would def bring over food so I could love on that sweet newborn. Newborns are just my cure to any crazy, bad or hectic day! I know G will be loving him and even at only 2 he will be a big help and you will truly be out the yazoo in awe of how sweet G is with the new baby brother.
    The ice chest is the BOMB girl, you scored some major wife points on that one! I’m know he deserved it and was over the moon in excitement when he saw it. I need to store this info and save it for next years Christmas present or Fathers day. This is such a great gift and it is gorgeous!

    28 . Nov . 2011
    • Kitchen Belleicious

      Oh I hope you are right Kelli about g being a big help. I am so worried about how he will handle everything! Oh and you know you could always have your hot choc during the day and thSt glass of wine later that night:)

      30 . Nov . 2011
  22. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    Oh I am so making this hot chocolate mix!! That cooler is awesome looking. I can see why your husband was so excited to get it.

    28 . Nov . 2011
  23. Erin@ Cooking on Whim

    I need a delicious hot chocolate for an upcoming girls night out– this is the ticket! Thanks!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  24. Liz

    Oh, this is some fancy and fabulous hot chocolate! My boys would love it after a day of sledding…hubby and daughter too 🙂 And you get the sweet wife award with the LSU ice chest…what a neat idea!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  25. vianney

    The cooler rocks!!! I can imagine his excitement. My hubby would love one of these with the Texans, thanks for sharing. I will chekc them out!! Loving this hot cocoa and great idea to plan ahead. Have a great week!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  26. Mary

    That chest looks incredible! And the hot chocolate…to die for!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  27. Shea

    First of all, that hot chocolate looks so delicious! I swear, hot chocolate is the only thing that makes winter bearable for me (that, and Christmas!). And that ice chest is an awesome idea–what a great husband gift!

    28 . Nov . 2011
  28. Reem | Simply Reem

    I love hot chocolate…
    It screams holidays right, this sounds soo good. Perfect for cold nights with sparkle and shines of the season…
    Yum…

    28 . Nov . 2011
  29. Pure Complex

    I just love a delicious cup of hot chocolate around this time.. very nice recipe. And I have to admit those cookers are just too cute. Love it

    29 . Nov . 2011
  30. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book

    Delicious sounding hot chocolate mix and love the idea of the cayenne too.
    What a good wife you are! The cooler is awesome!
    🙂 Mandy

    29 . Nov . 2011
  31. Anna and Liz Recipes

    YOur hot chocolate looks soooooo good I could have a cup right now! Love the cooler idea for a gift.
    Perfect for Christmas! When our daughter Annalisa lived in Austin, Texas – our family became LSU Fans too! Loved that team!! 🙂

    29 . Nov . 2011
  32. Alli

    Not sure if there could be a more perfect cocoa mix for me. I have a mug everyday but have never made it myself. I can’t wait to try this.

    29 . Nov . 2011
  33. Kristy

    What a fantastic idea for your hubby! That is a gorgeous cooler. I love red cedar. 🙂 And I like that you’re prepping ahead of time for after the arrival of the baby. I wish I would have thought to do that before Miss A was born…would have made those first few weeks so much easier. 🙂

    29 . Nov . 2011
  34. Mary

    This hot chocolate sounds perfect! Definitely a great thing to have on hand when the wee one arrives. You are getting so close!! The cooler is an awesome gift. I can only imagine just how thrilled your man was when he saw it. I adore it when I find the perfect surprise like that!

    29 . Nov . 2011
  35. Biren @ Roti n Rice

    Your hot chocolate mix sounds really good! That is indeed a cool gift. I would also have a hard time keeping something like that till Christmas. 🙂

    29 . Nov . 2011
  36. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Did I miss a baby post?!? Anyways, congrats! Guess we can make it up with a nice cut of that delicious mexican hot chocolate 😉

    29 . Nov . 2011
  37. Bree

    I adore Mexican hot chocolate–thanks for sharing!

    29 . Nov . 2011
  38. Sawsan@chef in disguise

    I haven’t made hot chocolate yet this year but when I do I will definetly be making it your way

    29 . Nov . 2011
  39. Melanie @ Melanie Cooks

    Mexican hot chocolate looks gorgeous!

    29 . Nov . 2011
  40. Stefanie

    I keep meaning to try Mexican Hot Chocolate… this looks delicious! And I love that you can make the mix in advance and store it for future uses!!

    29 . Nov . 2011
  41. Jihane @Sinful Sundays

    Mmmm!!! Your mix looks and sounds so good! Thanks for sharing this because I’m def making it this season! 🙂

    29 . Nov . 2011
  42. rosita vargas

    cacao una delicia tentadora,abrazos hugs.

    29 . Nov . 2011
  43. Donna @ The Slow Roasted Italian

    The Hot Chocolate looks amazing!! What a great gift, in a canning jar.

    29 . Nov . 2011
  44. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit

    Mmmm…LOVE the hot chocolate mix. That cooler is a great idea- definitely something hubby doesn’t already have. 🙂

    29 . Nov . 2011
  45. Charris

    mmmm Looks good!
    Hey Jessica just stopped bye to say hello, its been a while since I’ve been here. Everything looks soooo good!

    29 . Nov . 2011
  46. Allison @ Alli n Son

    Oh my, did you know that I love spicy chocolate? And peppermint and chocolate? I never thought to combine them, so brilliant!

    I hope you are doing well, and feeling well!

    29 . Nov . 2011
  47. My Carolina Kitchen

    It’s definitely hot chocolate time isn’t it. Love your cooler idea for your husband. Mine would have to have a Razorback on it though (smile). LSU has really been THE team this year.
    Sam

    30 . Nov . 2011
  48. Joanne

    I’m sure that once I tasted this jazzed up version of hot chocolate, storebought will never be satisfactory again.

    what a sweet present for your husband!

    30 . Nov . 2011
  49. Linda

    Now that is one amazing cup of hot chocolate! I do hope you will get many moments to cherish a hot cup and relax!! You’ll be one busy mommy!

    30 . Nov . 2011
  50. Heather

    Wow! What an amazing Christmas gift! Your husband is so lucky! Plus that hot chocolate wouldn’t last more than a few data in my house:)

    01 . Dec . 2011
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