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I wanted to make mint extract, but almost everything I could find involved alcohol. Which is fine for baking because the alcohol content bakes out, but I wanted to be able to serve my kids homemade mint hot chocolate. So, I came across this recipe and couldn't wait to share it with you!
I had mint leaves from my herb garden and harvested them fresh. Take equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water. I did 1/2 cup of each and pour in a Mason jar. If using fresh leaves, rinse and pat dry your leaves. Crush and bruise (this step is important) a 1/2 cup of fresh leaves and dump in the jar with vinegar and water. Put on lid and band and then shake vigorously. Make sure all the leaves are covered in the liquid. If using dried leaves, just a 1/4 cup.
Put in a dark cool place. I used the shelf in the snack cupboard. Shake the jar every day to help the mint seep into the liquid. Check the strength at two weeks. You can keep it seeping up to six weeks.
When you're ready, take a canning funnel and a coffee filter. Place it over a clean Mason jar and pour mint leaves and extract through the filter. (Hold filter in place or tape it before hand) Squeeze leaves to get the last of the extract from them.
If you'd like to make the extract a bit sweeter, you can put jar (Without lid and band) in the microwave and add 1 tablespoon honey. Heat then stir until completely dissolved. If you don't like the microwave, the stove top and a pot work fine, too. Use in all your baked goods as you would vanilla.
We can't have just mint extract, we need homemade hot chocolate mix, too!
I combined some online versions for:
The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix!
3 cups non-fat dried instant milk powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender until well blended. Spoon into Mason jars or glass container. Use 3 tablespoons to 1 cup hot water or milk. Add 1 teaspoon mint extract (or to taste) to hot chocolate. Optional- top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows.
I plan on having a hot chocolate bar on Christmas morning. Complete with sprinkles, cinnamon, nutmeg, and whatever else I can come up with in the next 49 days!
What's your favorite holiday beverage? Do you make homemade gifts for Christmas?
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.