Friday, January 9, 2009

Homemade Hot Cocoa and Marshmallows

I must admit I've neglected the blog a bit during December. But for good reason, because I was literally cooking during almost all of my free time last month, which means several holiday posts still to come!

One of my pride and joys was the homemade hot cocoa mix/homemade marshmallows I made as gifts for co-workers and family members. Both were fairly simple and recipes from Mr. Alton Brown himself.

The hot cocoa recipe requires dutch process cocoa (if you have a Penzey's near you it won't be hard to find), salt, powdered milk, powdered sugar, corn starch, cayenne pepper and cinnamon (my addition). I made sure to mix it thoroughly by mixing it in our food processor.

The marshmallows recipe was a little more complicated. It required heating sugar, corn syrup, salt and water in a sauce pan to 240 degrees. Then you must poor the molten sugar mixture into a bowl of a standmixer as it whips it with gelatin that has been sitting in ice water while the sugar mixture cooked. You whip the sugar and gelatin mixture until the outside of the bowl is warm to the touch and then spread it into a 9-by-13-inch pan and cover with a pre-mixed corn starch/powder sugar mixture.

Let it sit out overnight and then slice into 1-inch pieces. While I made the vanilla marshmallows according to the above recipe, I also did a little experimenting and made candy cane marshmallows by crushing two to three candy canes and adding about 2 tablespoons to the marshmallows mixture toward the end of the mixing process.

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