homemade hot cocoa mix

homemade cocoa mix | Cody Uncorked
ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS! I can’t wait to relax, read all the books, play all the board games and drink all the hot chocolate.

I’m not going to lie though, I am a pretty big hot chocolate snob. I don’t like the stuff in the packets. Even when I make it with milk and snazz it up with extra stuff, there always seems to be a fake, chemical-y taste to it.

Enter homemade hot cocoa mix – the easiest food DIY you ever did meet! With six simple ingredients, you will have a big batch of warm, silky, chocolate goodness ready for enjoying by the fire.

What’s great about this recipe (but seems weird at first) is the dried milk. It makes the mix extremely portable as regular old hot water will still make a traditional, milky hot cocoa. However, I like to still use milk to make it extra rich.

homemade cocoa mix | Cody Uncorked
There really are no steps to this recipe other than to measure everything out and mix it all together. I opted to use a big bowl, my hands and an old-fashioned whisk to stir it up. There were still a few small pieces of powdered sugar in there (you can see them below), so if you want it to be totally smooth, a food processor or stand mixer with the whisk attachment would do the trick. 

Once you’re finished, divide the mix into air-tight containers. After that it’s up to you – package them up with marshmallows (recipe to come!) for a cute Christmas gift, or keep it all to yourself.

homemade cocoa mix | Cody Uncorked

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper (doesn’t add heat, enhances the flavor!)
3 cups nonfat dry milk powder

directions for making
Mix everything together using your hands, stand mixer or food processor depending on your consistency preferences.

directions for serving
Place 1/3 cup of hot chocolate mix (adjust as needed) into a mug. Fill with hot water or milk, then stir to combine. (If you give this mix as a gift, be sure to include these instructions!)

optional serving additions
whipped cream
peppermint schnapps
coffee liqueur
Irish cream liqueur
caramel sauce

homemade cocoa mix | Cody Uncorked

Happy sipping to you and yours!


signature | Cody Uncorked.

everything crusted cheddar cheese ball

the perfect cheese plate | Cody Uncorked

After a lot of buildup, I’m finally sharing the recipe for this delicious everything crusted cheddar cheese ball!

Not only is this a perfect way to use your homemade everything seasoning, it’s also a great way to showcase your brand new Epicurean state shaped cutting board! (You’ve entered to win, right?)

With sharp cheddar cheese, salty pancetta and smooth cream cheese, this cheese ball is sure to be a hit. Plus, the fennel in the everything seasoning tastes delicious with the creamy cheddar goodness!

the perfect cheese plate | Cody Uncorked

Everything Crusted Cheddar Cheese Ball
adapted slightly from Bon Appétit

2 oz pancetta, crisped, drained & cooled
1.5 cups finely grated extra sharp cheddar
4 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1-2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup of everything seasoning

Mix cheddar, cream cheese and butter in a food processor or with a hand mixer until smooth. Next, add pancetta, scallion, a pinch of salt, pepper and Worcestershire and blend until smooth.

Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, then scrape the cheese mixture into the bowl. Twist the plastic wrap closed, then use your hands to shape the bundle into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then unwrap the ball and roll it lightly in everything seasoning, pressing to adhere.

Serve with bagel chips and crackers!

the perfect cheese plate | Cody Uncorked

One more reminder to enter my giveaway – you have until Monday, 12/15 at 10:00 AM!


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the perfect cheese plate + a giveaway!

the perfect cheese plate | Cody Uncorked

I am so, so excited about today’s post! Don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom, where I’m hosting a giveaway of one state-shaped Epicurean cutting board along with a $25 The Fresh Market gift card!

I am a strong believer that no gathering is complete without a cheese plate. It’s the perfect thing for people to snack on without making a mess – plus, there’s very little prep involved.

the perfect cheese plate | Cody Uncorked

My main tip for building a cheese plate is this: select cheeses and accoutrement you like, then layer in a few classics or cheeses you’ve been wanting to try! For a little more guidance, I’ve included some additional things I like to consider below.

How to Build the Perfect Cheese Plate

  • VARIETY: Choose cheeses with different flavors and textures for an interesting and well-rounded assortment. I like to include something aged, something hard, something soft and something stinky, but those aren’t the only options. Just make sure you’re not making a plate of three types of the same cheese – boring! There are dedicated cheese specialists at The Fresh Market who can answer questions and help you with special cuts/amounts.
  • TEMPERATURE: This is important! Serve your cheeses at room temperature. Cold, fresh-outta-the-fridge cheese doesn’t live up to its full taste or smell potential. Let your cheeses sit on the counter for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.
  • ACCOMPANIMENTS: Of course, bread and crackers are key for serving cheeses. I like to get a variety of each to complement the different cheeses I’ve selected. The Fresh Market has great selections, including a pre-made cracker variety pack! I also like to include nuts, olives and fruit on my cheese plates. If you select fruit, make sure it’s ripe and in season. If not, select a dried fruit like figs or cranberries. You can also liven up nuts by tossing them in a bit of olive oil warmed with fresh herbs. Finally, I always select at least one cured meat – prosciutto is my favorite, but The Fresh Market has a wide selection of dry-cured salamis and other charcuterie to choose from.
  • SERVING: My absolute favorite way to serve cheese plates is on cutting boards. They’re easy to clean, look great and can withstand the wear. I’ll tell you a little more about Epicurean (my favorite!) cutting boards later in this post, but their new state-shaped cutting boards are the perfect way to show off a great cheese plate! Use small ramekins and bowls to serve your accompaniments, and a basket or other plate to serve your crackers. If you’re trying new or exotic cheeses, label them so your guests know what they’re getting into.

the perfect cheese plate | Cody Uncorked

As I mentioned, Epicurean cutting boards are some of my all-time favorites. They’re high-quality, durable and come in a ton of shapes and sizes. Another thing I love is that their cutting boards are made in the USA and are manufactured using eco-friendly materials. Each of their material blends is a different color, but they’re all dishwasher safe and built to last.

I own a few of their traditionally shaped cutting boards – after registering and receiving one as a wedding gift, they quickly became a staple in our kitchen. In addition to the classics, their new state-shaped cutting boards are SO fun – they are not only great to serve your cheese on and use for cutting, but they make excellent hostess, wedding and holiday gifts. At $24.99, they’re also a fantastic price!

the perfect cheese plate | Cody Uncorked

I know I said yesterday that I’d be sharing the Everything Crusted Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe in today’s post, but I think I’ll share it with you tomorrow instead. You’ll forgive me, right?!

Now, without further ado, the giveaway! Big thanks to Epicurean, who provided the cutting board in these pictures and the cutting board I’m giving away! Thanks also to The Fresh Market, who sent me a gift card to purchase some of the cheese used in this post and who also provided the $25 gift card I’m giving away! Both of these companies are regular parts of my life, and I’m so excited to share this awesome giveaway with you all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

the perfect cheese plate | Cody Uncorked

Good luck!
signature | Cody Uncorked.




Disclosure: I was provided a cutting board to keep and one to give away from Epicurean along with a gift card to use a gift card to give away from The Fresh Market, but was not otherwise compensated. The opinions in this post are my own.