Friday, December 24, 2010

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

It is that time of year again when I need to get the teachers a little something for all their hard work during the year. I like to give them something from the store and add a little something homemade as well. I found the perfect thing on another blog (Make & Takes) this year that went with the mug/hot chocolate set I bought...Hot Chocolate on a Stick.

First you need to make a recipe from King Arthur Flour that has been featured in their catalog for some time now...Cocoa Blocks.

The person at Make & Takes used Alton Brown's marshmallow recipe but I thought I would make the recipe I saw last year from King Arthur Flour instead.

Homemade Marshmallow

3 packages (1/4-ounce each) unflavored gelatin
1 cup (8 ounces) cool water, divided
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (11 ounces) light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
crushed peppermint candies, peppermint oil, or espresso powder, all optional
confectioners' sugar, to sprinkle on top

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cool water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cool water in a small, deep saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase the speed to high, and whip until the mixture is very thick and fluffy, and has cooled to lukewarm, 8 to 10 minutes. (It should be cool enough that you can spread it into the pan without burning your fingers.)

Add vanilla towards the end of the mixing time. This is also the time to add a few drops of peppermint oil, if desired, instead of vanilla extract. Or try 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder for a coffee-flavored treat. To use the crushed peppermint candies, which will tint the marshmallow pink and add flavor, stir the candies into the marshmallow mixture, leaving some swirls of plain white.

Spread the marshmallow mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan (glass or ceramic is best). Use your wet hands to smooth and flatten the marshmallows. Sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the top, and let sit for several hours (or overnight) before cutting. Use a greased knife or cookie cutters to make squares or other shapes. Yield: about 100 1" squares.

Review: Both recipes where not hard to make at all. I found that cocoa blocks to be like making fudge which I guess you can say is fudge in a way. Making homemade marshmallow is something I have always wanted to do again and I think the recipe was much better then the last one I tried out a while ago. Next time I might try a different flavor then vanilla to make it interesting. I did make hot chocolate like suggested on the blog with heating up some milk (6oz) and swirling the stick into it. One of the best Hot Chocolates I have ever had...which makes this a keeper for sure!

Happy Holidays!

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