Posted: December 13th, 2009 | Filed under: Candy | Tags: holiday desserts, holiday drinks, homemade hot chocolate, homemade marshmallow, Hot chocolate, marshmallows, peppermint marshmallow, vanilla marshmallow, winter drinks | 6 Comments »
I can’t begin to tell you how much I dislike the cold. However, I love scarves, coats, winter wear of all sorts, and I truly love cold weather drinks. A little wassail, hot chocolate or apple cider certainly never hurt anybody. (I keep trying to tell my doctor and my waistline that one.) In fact, some of my fondest Christmas memories involve hot chocolate. Now, I am admittedly a chocolate snob (since my husband has decided to point it out publicly on several occasions) and this includes hot chocolate. In my barista days I learned how to really make some terrific hot cocoa (instead of it just tasting like warm kind chocolate-y milk). I don’t mess with instant hot chocolate mixes, and I certainly never use water. This of course makes my hot chocolate decidedly unhealthy, but frankly, I don’t care. (Seriously, if I did care would I fry things in shortening, bake pound cakes with loads of butter, and make homemade lemon curd that I’ll finish all by myself in a week?)
And last year I just added to the joy of hot chocolate… homemade marshmallows. Now, I grew up and am very accustomed to the Jet Puffed big marshmallows. I have memories of my parents saying with exasperation, “You each got 10 mini marshmallows in your cup, please don’t tell me your sister has more, because she doesn’t.”
But I had seen “gourmet marshmallows,” and had even come across a recipe or two when I just decided that it was time. I found a recipe and after looking over it several times thought to myself, ‘Well, that really doesn’t seem so bad at all!’ So on it went, marshmallow making with smooth and creamy hot chocolate. So this year for a Christmas party when I was asked to make a dessert, the hostess looked at me and quickly requested my hot chocolate. What a perfect reason to make my marshmallows! And this time I wouldn’t be eating them all myself.
Now these do contain gelatin, so if you have problems with Kraft gelatin for various reasons, cellulose, agar-agar, and xanthan are all vegan friendly substitues. I have not experimented with these, and don’t plan on it… so good luck and let me know what happens.
1/2 gallon of whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 c sugar
12 oz semisweet chocolate (I used 72% cocoa)
1 c cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s or Ghiradelli)
3 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
Put all ingredients into a large pot. Stir constantly at medium heat until liquid is hot and everything is combined and smooth.
3 pkgs unflavored gelatin
1 1/2c granulated sugar
1c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachments and allow to sit while making the syrup. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepn and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the syrup into to dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last few seconds. Pour into an 8x8in baking pan coated with confectioners sugar. Top with confectioners sugar. (Or a crushed candy topping.) Allow to dry overnight uncovered. (If you are freaked out by the thought of ants like I am, put them in the oven and make sure not to turn the oven on.) Remove from the pan to cut into squares. Store at room temperature.
(For a peppermint variation, use 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tbsp peppermint extract. I also like to know which is which so I color my marshmallows with three drops of red food coloring for a nice pink color. I also use crushed peppermints to top my marshmallows.)