Who says you have to spend a lot of money to give a thoughtful gift? This week on "In the Pantry," host Aida Mollenkamp shares three DIY gifts you can make with ingredients straight out of your pantry for less than five bucks!
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Mix In a Mason jar, place a layer of unsweetened cocoa powder, followed by a layer of granulated sugar, a pinch of salt, a layer of mini chocolate chips, and a layer of mint chips, which you can usually find at your grocery store during the holiday season. Mollenkamp recommends adding marshmallows or crushed candy canes if your grocery store doesn't sell mint chips. You can use a piece of parchment paper as a funnel to pour the ingredients into the jar. Cover the jar with its lid, and then dress it up with a tag and some instructions so that the recipient knows how to make Peppermint Hot Chocolate.
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Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Cookie Mix
Makes one gift.
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped dried sweet cherries
Directions for assembling the gift
In a Mason jar, layer the dry ingredients: the flour, the baking powder, the salt, the white and brown sugars, and some chocolate chips. Attach the dry cherries in a plastic bag, a label, a pretty ribbon, and a gift tag with following cooking instructions from Mollenkamp:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. and arrange racks in upper and lower third. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, and whisk to break up any lumps and aerate; set aside.
2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars; beat with medium speed until mixture looks airy, fluffy, and lighter in color, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Turn off mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until just incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer, and stir in the chocolate chips and cherries.
4. Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons and arrange on two parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving at least 1/2 inch between cookies. (You should have about 12 to 15 cookies per sheet.)
5. Place two sheets in oven and bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until undersides of cookies are golden brown, and tops are set and slightly golden, about 14 minutes total. Remove cookies to a cooling rack, and repeat to bake off remaining dough.
"This is great for a camping trip or anywhere you're going to be near a fire with your sweetie," says Mollenkamp. Simply add s'more ingredients to a Mason jar: a chocolate bar broken into pieces, graham crackers, and marshmallows. You can also wrap up the individual ingredients in plastic bags so that everything stays fresh.