Every Christmas I spend so much time debating what to give the neighbors and co-workers besides cookies that I end up doing nothing. When I found this recipe for homemade hot chocolate and marshmallows my light bulb went on. I have bought cellophane bags and gift tags and we'll be passing out the dry hot chocolate mix and some fresh homemade marshmallows.
Try it out on a cold night and test out different types of chocolate and different add ins to get it just the way you like it. My favorite variation is adding some crushed peppermint candy. What are your ideas for add-ins?
Don't forget to write the simple prep directions (add 1 cup water for 1/2 cup mix and heat 6-7 minutes) for your friends!
I have also included a White Hot Chocolate recipe from Martha Stewart. It won't pack well as a gift but thought you may enjoy it yourself this winter.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
A modified Tyler Florence recipe
Makes 4- 1/2 cup hot chocolate mix and 4- 1 cup liquid hot chocolate servings
3/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used unsweetened Ghirardelli cocoa)
3 ounces semi- sweet chocolate
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Take the semi-sweet chocolate and roughly chop it up to give a chunky but consistent size. Mix well with a wooden spoon and then store in a dry airtight container. To make the hot chocolate, simply add 1 cup of water per 1/2 cup of hot cocoa mix. Heat in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat until hot, but do not boil, about 6 to 7 minutes. Serve with marshmallows.
Instead of cinnamon try crushed peppermint candy
Add a small pinch of ginger and nutmeg with the cinnamon for a spicy, Jacques Torres Style hot chocolate
3 tablespoons (3 packets) powdered gelatin
2 cups cold water
2 cups sugar
2 egg whites
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting pan and marshmallows
Butter, for greasing pan
In a medium sized saucepan soak the gelatin in the cold water. After the gelatin has softened, approximately 10 minutes, add the regular sugar and then gently dissolve over low heat, approximately 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks and then fold in the sifted confectioners' sugar. While the mixer is on low, slowly pour in the cooled gelatin mixture. Increase the speed and beat until white and thick. The volume should double in size and should form between soft and firm peaks.
Line an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with high sides with foil, grease slightly with butter, and coat with confectioners' sugar. Alternatively, you can use a baking sheet, but the marshmallows will not be as tall. Pour marshmallow mixture in and top with more sifted confectioners' sugar. Leave out overnight or for at least 3 hours to set. The marshmallow should be light and spongy when set.
Loosen marshmallow from edges of tray and invert onto a large cutting board. Peel off foil and use a large knife to cut the marshmallows into cubes. Dredge each piece in confectioners' sugar.
Martha Stewart's White Hot Chocolate
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 6 cups whole milk
* 12 ounces white chocolate , finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 block dark chocolate
Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate into curls; set aside.
Place white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl; set aside. Place milk and cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around edges of pan (about 4 minutes). Do not boil.
Remove mixture from the flame. Immediately pour over white chocolate. When chocolate begins to melt, gently stir to combine.
Whisk in vanilla. Continue whisking until light foam forms.
photo from Bakingbits.com