Hot Chocolate (two times) + Homemade Marshmallows

Back about a week before Christmas, I shared a Holiday Confections: in progress post, where I let you know many of the yummy treats I was making this year.  I was very pleased with how everything turned out, especially the hot chocolate mixes and marshmallows.  I made one recipe of the plain hot chocolate, two of the peppermint, and one batch of marshmallows and that was enough for 12 pint size Mason jars.  I think this is my new favorite holiday gift…very yummy and pretty to boot!

all packaged and ready to gift!

cup of comfort

Simply Rich Hot Chocolate
You will need:
2 vanilla beans + 4 cups granulated sugar
2 lbs high-quality chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used dark chocolate)
2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa

Split and scrape vanilla beans and place in a large bowl or jar with the sugar. Work seeds into the sugar with your fingers and bury the pods under the sugar. Cover tightly and let stand overnight.  In a food processor blend chocolate, vanilla sugar, cocoa powder until finely ground, using quick pulses. You will most likely need to do this in batches.  You can store the mix in an airtight container at room temperature for up to six months.

To make the hot chocolate, combine 1/4 cup of mix with 8 oz of milk and heat on the stove until steaming, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

makes: about 8 cups of mix
adapted from: Smells Like Home

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
You will need:
1 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
8 ounces dark chocolate
6 candy canes

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Roughly chop the chocolate and place in a food processor.   Break in the candy canes, then pulse in short intervals until finely ground.  Mix well with dry ingredients and then store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

To make the hot chocolate, combine 1 cup of water per 1/2 cup of hot cocoa mix in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until hot and steamy, about 5 minutes.

makes: about 4 cups of mix
adapted from: Tyler Florence

Fluffy Marshmallows
You will need:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.  In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes.  In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined.  Scrape mixture into baking pan and sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.  Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature for a little more than a week.

makes: about 96 1-inch marshmallows
from: Smitten Kitchen

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