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Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

Hot Cocoa and Marshmallows

We had some horrible storms come through our neck of the woods yesterday. We had, I think, 4 tornado warnings in a 2 hour period, I hear a tornado actually touched down at the National Corvette Museum, which is only a mile and a half from my house. I opened the windows so I could hear everything that was going on and it got so hot in the house! After everything was over and it stopped raining I took my puppies out to do their business and it had dropped about 15 degrees! It was rather chilly and that put cocoa in my mind and there was no getting rid of it! It’s the very beginning of the cool weather around here and there was none to be found in our house! There was no way I was going out in the nasty weather so the only other option was to make it! After making this delicious hot chocolate I don’t know if I’ll ever buy store bought again!

Chocolately Hot Cocoa
This was originally a Martha Stewart recipe, but I doctored it a bit with some chocolate chips. Here are the ingredients:

* 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa
* 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
* 3 ounces milk chocolate chips (or your favorite variety)

It really could not be more simple than this! You combine all of the ingredients in a food processor with the chopping blade and pulse. It combines the sugar and cocoa and coarsely chops the chocolate chips into smaller, easily melted pieces.

All chopped together

Martha says to add 3 tablespoons of mix to 1 cup of milk, but that’s just to gritty for my taste. I like eyeballing the milk to about a cup, I’m usually generous, and 2 tablespoons of mix, tastey! That is a little This recipes makes a delicious semi-sweet cocoa, if you like a sweet cocoa, add more sugar! For a little variety add caramel chips, mint chocolate chips, or even instant coffee!

No hot cocoa is complete without marshmallows, and of course we didn’t have those either, so home made those became too!

This too was a Martha Stewart recipe, but not nearly as easy to prepare as the cocoa. In fact it’s an overnight process. The taste is absolutely amazing, this would be a great activity with kids, what kid doesn’t love to get messy, and this is a messy recipe! Here are the ingredients:

* 1 cup water
* 2 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin
* 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
* 1 cup light corn syrup
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
* Confectioners’ sugar

A stand mixer is really a must for this recipe, a hand mixer could work, but it is mixing intensive! Start by mixing 2 ½ Tbsp of unflavored gelatin, I used Knott’s gelatin, it comes in five individual packages and I used almost all five packages, mix with ½ cup of water with a whisk attachment. It becomes a gooey gelatin that has a horrible smell! Don’t let this scare you, it comes out delicious. This has to sit for 30 minutes, so continue on and come back to this.

In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and the other ½ cup of water. Over low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Martha suggests using a wet pastry brush to brush the sugar down the side of the pan. After the sugar dissolves, turn the heat up to high and with a candy thermometer monitor the heat until it reaches exactly 244°, firm-ball stage. This took a lot long than I expected, it shot up to 215 within seconds but then took several minutes longer to move up the additional degrees.

Waiting for the right temp

When it reaches 244°, remove from the heat immediately. With the mixer on low speed, combine the heated mixture with the gelatin. Allow to mix until it is thick, white and nearly triple the volume, approximately 15 minutes.

Minute 0

Minute 15

While that is mixing prepare your pan. Martha suggests 1 8” x 12”. I only have a 9” x 13” and it was occupied with delicious lasagna. Instead I used 2 8” x 8” pans. My marshmallows came out about 1” thick, the small the area the thicker they will be. Generously coat the bottom of your pan(s) with confectioners’ sugar, this is what will keep your marshmallows from sticking.

Prepared Pans

Once you’ve reached the desired consistency pour into your prepared pans. Coat the top surface of the marshmallows with confectioners’ sugar. With wet fingertips, smooth the surface of the marshmallows and dust with more confectioners’ sugar. If you plan to cut your marshmallows into shapes with cookie cutters, it might be easier to smooth them thinner than one inch on a sheet of parchment. Leave the marshmallows on the countertop to dry overnight.

Dusting top with Sugar

Smoothing flat

To remove, run a knife around the edge of the pan and lift with your fingertips, it’s much easier to jiggle it loose with your fingers. Cut with a hot dry knife, this works very well, but only stays hot and dry for about 2 seconds, then it’s all gooey, so I typically worked with a gooey knife, not the easiest thing.
My marshmallows ended up being approximately 1” squares and made somewhere near 150 to 200.

Clean up is the perfect time to taste, kids absolutely love this….and I know I do as well!

Can't waste any!

Housed in mason jars, this would be an adorable and delicious any time gift! Here is my finished product, quite quite even unadorned.

Gift time!

Cuddle up with a good book and a cozy blanket and sip til your heart is content! Enjoy!

Yummy

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