The days are getting longer, but the nights are still cold. Don't let winter pass you by without trying this amazing hot chocolate recipe! And don't stop there, make these ridiculously easy homemade marshmallows too!
Not too long afterward, I saw a recipe for homemade marshmallows. It was a match made in heaven.
Let's start with the marshmallows. They're not hard to make, but will just take time to set. If you can boil water and use a hand mixer, you can make your own marshmallows.
What You Need:
2 small bowls
Measuring cups and spoons
Medium saucepan, spatula
Large mixing bowl
Casserole dish (9x13 is great, but any size will do)
Cookie cutter or sharp knife
4 Tablespoons (envelopes) Knox unflavored gelatin
2 cups cold water (divided)
4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
Pam or other cooking spray
1. Soak gelatin in one cup of water, set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and other cup of water, heat until sugar is dissolved.
3. Add gelatin to sugar water (which by now will be pretty solidified), bring to boil, stirring consistently.
4. Once it's boiling, remove from heat and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Let it cool for a minute or two and then add vanilla and salt.
5. With an electric mixer, mix it for 10-15 minutes. It will turn white, thicken, and almost double in size.
6. Pour into a greased casserole dish. The size of the dish doesn't really matter. The smaller the dish, the thicker your marshmallows will be. It's entirely up to you. I used a 9x13 inch pan. Now, just leave it alone while it sets. I actually put mine in the garage (the perk to Midwest winters is the extended freeze/fridge space!) and it was firm after an hour and a half). The marshmallows will be firm, but sticky when done.
7. Now it's time to cut out your marshmallows! You can use a cookie cutter like did, or just cut out squares. A sharp knife will help immensely, we used a little paring knife to cut squares out of the Mickey scraps.
8. Roll cut marshmallows in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together. Store them in a sealed container.
Jazz up your homemade marshmallows by adding food coloring to the sugar and water; sprinkle cocoa powder, cinnamon or sprinkles on the pan before the marshmallows set; or roll them in sprinkles instead of powdered sugar!
Seriously, marshmallows are super easy to make, and you will be amazed with the results. Forget about overly sweet, dry, store bought ones! These are light, fluffy, and moist. You might consider never buying marshmallows again.
Now, onto the main attraction: hot chocolate!
Full disclosure here, I tweaked this recipe quite a bit from the one I found originally, and I've never been to Disneyland so I don't actually know if my final product tastes anything like the one from Napa Rose. What I do know is mine came out delicious! It was rich, creamy, and decadent.
My mistake was using Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder instead of the regular kind. As such, I did not include the 1.5 teaspoons each of shaved milk and dark chocolates from the original recipe: this guy had enough chocolate as it was! And we added an extra two cups of milk to dilute the chocolate flavor, something I never imagined myself needing to do!
Regardless, the sweetened condensed milk in the hot cocoa makes for a super rich, creamy, and delicious drink! Perfect copycat or not, you are bound to fall in love with this hot chocolate!
What You Need:
Measuring cups and spoons
Spatula, whisk, and ladle
1 cup whole milk
2 cups 2% milk (I added this to thin out the intense chocolate sauce flavor from the dark cocoa powder, if you use regular cocoa powder, you may not need it)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat milk and cream over medium-high heat, but be careful not to let the milks boil or scald.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa and sugar.
3. Add to milk on the stove. Reduce heat and whisk to combine.
4. Add condensed milk and vanilla, stirring well.
5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Ladle into mugs and enjoy!
Trust me, your winter simply is not complete until you've made this luscious hot chocolate. Run, don't walk into your kitchen, and get going!
And when you're back from your sugar coma, let us know how your marshmallows and hot chocolate turned out!