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How to Build a Hot Cocoa Gift Basket Everyone Will Love

A cup of hot cocoa next to a bag of cocoa mix; a clear mug of hot cocoa; a mug of cocoa with marshmallow stirring spoons
Ghirardelli/LUXU/Trader Joe’s

The best gift is something that everyone will love—and who doesn’t love hot chocolate in the winter? A deluxe hot cocoa kit is both customizable creative, and it’s easy to make in just a few steps.

Putting a hot chocolate kit together is all about choosing a few great items that combine into a luxurious, delicious gift. Start with a few basic items—like high-quality chocolate and marshmallows—and then build out from there. You might add a mug, or a cookbook, or something else entirely—it’s up to you! Let’s start with just a few ideas to get your imagination rolling.

Step 1: Decadent Hot Chocolate

Cups of hot cocoa next to a bag of cocoa powder; a brown tin of ground chocolate powder

The key to a great hot cocoa gift basket is finding the best cocoa. If you’re really looking for something that will feel luxurious and indulgent, you’ll want to look for a cocoa formula that uses real chocolate and that is meant to be dissolved in milk, not water. That way, you’ll get a creamier, richer taste and texture.

The Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Premium Hot Cocoa is a high-quality hot cocoa that gives you a rich, chocolatey drink. Ghirardelli’s double chocolate mix uses quality ingredients, including real cocoa and vanilla, that dissolve smoothly and melt into a creamy hot drink.

Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Premium Hot Cocoa

High quality cocoa makes a big difference.

For a slightly different approach, you might try a cocoa/chocolate powder blend like the Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate and Cocoa Powder. Perfect for hot cocoa or for mixing into drinks like homemade mochas, the blend includes both shaved chocolate pieces and cocoa powder. The set also comes with a “white chocolate” mix, and both can be used for drinks and for baking.

Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate and Cocoa Powder

Two kinds of chocolate powder offer options for custom drinks and baking.

Step 2: Yummy Marshmallows

Chocolate and marshmallow stirring spoons; vanilla marshmallows in a bag and in a mug of cocoa
Trader Joe’s/Hammond’s

You can’t have hot cocoa without marshmallows (unless, of course, you’re more of a whipped cream kind of person)! Marshmallows are a place where you can have a little bit of fun with a hot cocoa gift basket. Perhaps you pick something colorful or with a unique flavor; perhaps you find deluxe marshmallow treats that go above and beyond. Use your imagination!

If flavor is what you’re after, then Hammond’s Candies Vanilla Bean Marshmallows should be on your radar. These gourmet, gluten-free marshmallows are perfect for a gift set: made in smaller batches, they’re fresher and fluffier, with a real vanilla bean flavor that adds dimension, rather than just fast-dissolving sugar, to your cocoa.

Hammond's Candies Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Small-batch gourmet marshmallows with real vanilla flavor.

You can really take the marshmallow idea to the next level with Trader Joe’s Double Chocolate Stirring Spoons . Even the stirring of cocoa can be fun and delicious with these spoons! They’re basic wooden stir spoons, but they have a base made from solid chocolate and mini marshmallows, which melt into your cocoa for even more chocolatey goodness.

Trader Joe's Double Chocolate Stirring Spoons

These spoons don't just stir your cocoa!

Step 3: Fun Mugs

A glass mug of cocoa; a teal insulated mug

If you want to build a more “deluxe” gift basket, the next thing to add would be a fun mug. There are seemingly infinite options for custom and creative mugs, but you can also go with something a little more classic.

There’s something very modern and fun about the LUXU Glass Coffee Mugs. These wide-mouth mugs hold up to 14 oz of liquid, and it’s actually kind of fun to be able to watch the cocoa inside — especially if you’re allowing marshmallows, whipped cream, or other topping to melt in!

LUXU Glass Coffee Mugs

Lightweight yet durable, these glass mugs are perfect for sleek style.

Sometimes, you want to take your cocoa to go, and that’s where the YETI Rambler Insulated Mug comes in. With a double-wall vacuum seal, it’s a super insulated construction that will keep your hot cocoa warm for as long as you want, and the colorful exterior colors add a little bit of personality.

YETI Rambler Insulated Mug

This insulated mug will keep your cocoa warm on the go.

Step 4: A Cocoa Cookbook

For the true cocoa connoisseurs, hot chocolate can mean much more than your basic mix-and-go recipes! Upgrade your gift by including a cocoa cookbook with tons of ideas for making hot cocoa drinks with unique twists.

Hot Cocoa Comfort: 50 Recipes for Comforting Cups of Chocolate takes hot chocolate to the next level. This cookbook from Michael Turback features 50 unique recipes, all of which incorporate different flavor combinations, types of chocolate, and toppings for a variety of comfort drinks that will warm up even the coldest winter days.

Hot Cocoa Comfort: 50 Recipes for Comforting Cups of Chocolate

This charming cookbook takes basic hot cocoa and transforms it into gourmet drinks!

Take the customization even further with 120 Hot Chocolate Recipes. Not only does this cookbook by Bonnie Scott offer plenty of creative hot cocoa recipes, but it also includes several recipes for homemade, flavored whipped cream to top every mug.

120 Hot Chocolate Recipes

Homemade hot cocoa and fresh whipped cream go hand in hand in this cookbook!

Some Tips for Finishing Touches

Once you’ve got everything you want to include, it’s time to build the basket itself! Even if you’re not the craftiest type, you’ll find that it’s surprisingly easy to assemble. All you really need is an appropriately-sized basket, some paper filling, and perhaps a cellophane gift bag—any other touches are totally up to you!

To make things super easy, you can grab a ready-made kit like the Hallmark Wrap Kit. Featuring a 24″ wide by 28″ high clear cellophane gift bag, a gift tag, crinkled paper shreds, and a neutral cord to tie it all together, it has almost everything you need for putting together a cute, professional-looking gift basket without the hassle.

Hallmark Wrap Kit

Everything you need for a great gift - just add the basket!

All you’ll need then will be the basket itself. Try a cute, slightly rustic-looking basket like the Rurality Gift Basket. With a variegated wicker weave, plenty of room, and relatively sturdy construction, it’s a solid option for assembling your cocoa gift basket.

Rurality Gift Basket

This neutral basket forms a perfect base for any gift.

You can build a cocoa kit with these suggestions, or get creative and choose more options on your own! For yet another dose of chocolatey goodness, you might even try some trendy hot cocoa bombs. Whatever you choose, chocolate is always a good (and festive) idea!

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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