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TIP OF THE DAY: Candy Cane Cocoa Rim

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Warm up your day with peppermint-accented
cocoa. Photo courtesy Ziploc.
 

For those living north of the Equator, today* is the the winter solstice, shortest day of the year.

Since antiquity, man has celebrated the winter solstice with feasting, gifts, visiting, drinking and more of the pleasures that counter the daily hardships of life.

So treat yourself to something special. We recommend a candy cane hot chocolate.

Start by making a seasonal cocoa cup rimmer with crushed candy canes or other peppermint candies.

Here’s a recipe for an easy batch of “peppermint dust” from Ziploc. Use it to turn goodies into festive treats all winter long.

To rim a cup of cocoa, dip the rim in water about 1/4 inch deep. Place the peppermint dust on a plate or in shallow bowl and twist the wet rim in it until it adheres.

 
HOW TO MAKE PEPPERMINT DUST

1. PLACE candy canes or other red and white peppermint candies in a Ziploc bag. Gently crush the candies with a rolling pin. Use less pressure for tiny chunks, and more pressure for a fine dust.

2. STORE the peppermint dust in a a Ziploc bag or other airtight container for easy access.

3. SPRINKLE on frosted, brownies, donuts, cupcakes. See these and other recipes at LifeLessons.Ziploc.com.

 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COCOA & HOT CHOCOLATE

Hot chocolate is made by mixing shaved, ground or other form of actual chocolate like beads or pellets (pistoles). The chocolate is mixed with water or milk, plus a sweetener. If you were to eat the chocolate, it would taste just like chocolate from a chocolate bar.

Cocoa is made with cocoa powder. Many products made from cocoa powder are called “hot chocolate,” but there is a difference. As chocolate contains far more cocoa butter than cocoa powder, hot chocolate will be smoother and richer than hot cocoa, all things being equal (if both products are made with the same type of liquid—milk, half and half, water, etc.) .

Check out the different types of cocoa and hot chocolate.
 
EASY PEPPERMINT BARK

For an over-the-top treat, have some peppermint bark with your candy cane cocoa.

Peppermint bark is super easy to make. Simply:

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It’s easy to make peppermint dust. Photo courtesy Ziploc.
 
1. MELT white chocolate chips or a white chocolate bar in a microwave safe bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with peppermint dust.

2. CHILL in the refrigerator for an hour and break into chunks. Voilà: a special treat with little effort.
 
*Using the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs between December 20th and December 23rd. Based on the rotation of Earth, the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun at the winter solstice (and closest to the sun at the vernal equinox in June). The Gregorian calendar is used in most western countries: 365 days in a year, 366 days in a leap year.
  




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