Growing up in western New York, we spent a good portion of winter (and sometimes fall and spring) covered in a blanket of snow. As kids, we would spend hours outside stumbling around in the snow, and when it was time to come inside, my mom would greet us with a warm mug of hot chocolate and some buttered toast. It was the perfect snack to warm us up, and to this day, when I drink hot chocolate it always reminds of playing in the snow with my siblings.
This year, I was looking for an edible gift idea for my friends, and came across this hot chocolate mix. I had to try it, of course, and I can say that it is amazing! I’ve never had homemade hot chocolate before this, and I can proudly say that I will never go back to those little envelopes! And what better to go with hot chocolate than homemade marshmallows!? These marshmallows are light and fluffy and just melt in your mouth. They take a little work to make, and can be a little messy, but they are well worth it. They taste so much better than store-bought marshmallows, and don’t have all the yucky chemicals in them. I can’t wait until this summer to try these in a s’more!
Hot Chocolate Mix
Yields: 76 2-Tbsp servings or 9 1-cup servings
2 vanilla beans
4 cups granulated sugar
24 oz high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
9 oz milk or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups Dutch process cocoa
Split and scrape the vanilla beans, and place in a large bowl or jar with the sugar. Work the seeds into the sugar with your fingers. Bury the pods under the sugar. Cover tightly, and let stand overnight at room temperature. (You can leave it for longer – it will keep forever.)
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate until finely ground, by gently pulsing the processor for a few seconds at time. If necessary, process the hot chocolate in batches.
Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend, making sure to combine well. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
To serve: Heat 8 ounces of milk in small saucepan, or in the microwave. Stir in 2 tablespoons of hot chocolate mix and top with homemade marshmallows or whipped cream. Start the fireplace, curl up on the couch with a comfy blanket and enjoy.
Yields: Approx. 3 dozen marshmallows
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, appox. 1.5 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
To make miniature marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.
Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Source: Alton Brown via FoodNetwork.com