Because it was six days before Christmas and I had nothing else to do this weekend (this part is not entirely true), I decided to make homemade treats for some of our friends and spend an afternoon delivering them. And by homemade treats I mean marshmallows and hot cocoa from scratch.
Have I ever made either of these before? Absolutely not.
Is trying two new recipes the best idea when you're about to hand it out to roughly 20 families? Definitely not.
Did either of those thoughts have the ability to stop my holiday treat mission? Are you crazy!?
Realistically, I expected my kitchen to end up looking something like this.
If pop culture has taught us anything, it's that man vs. mallow never ends well.
I have a bad habit of trying new recipes when you probably shouldn't run the risk. But to my delight, this project turned out much better than the night I tried to make homemade cinnamon rolls for Lauren's baby shower, a night Ty fondly looks back on as "the worst night of his life." It was a difficult lesson learned: Don't drink white wine and bake ... especially cinnamon rolls for more than 50 people when you've never made a cinnamon roll before in your life. Thankfully, Julie Anne's opens around 6 a.m. even on Saturdays. And thankfully they know how to make cinnamon rolls, probably even when they've had a pinot grigio or two.
I found these recipes on Confections of a Foodie Bride. I adapted the marshmallow recipe slightly since hers calls for peppermint extract, and I thought not everyone would like that. These recipes are super easy with the right tools: food processor, stand mixer, candy thermometer. I'm including some progress photos to prove that it's easy and possible to make homemade marshmallows. My photos start on step three because I was concerned during the second step that I might melt my hands off with molten corn syrup.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Baking or cooking spray
Powdered sugar for dusting/stick-proofing
- Place 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over top and set aside.
- Clip a candy thermometer to a small sauce pan. Heat corn syrup, sugar, salt, and the other 1/2 cup cold water over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Turn to high and cook to 240 F (use a candy thermometer), 6-8 minutes longer.
- Turn mixer to low and slowly pour the hot syrup over the gelatin. Add the vanilla extract. Increase the mixer speed to high and let run for 15 minutes until you have a glossy, smooth, and thick marshmallow mixture.
- While the marshmallow is whisking, heavily coat the inside of an 8×8 pan with baking spray. Coat with powdered sugar and tap out the excess. Pour in the marshmallow mixture (it will come all the way to the top). Let sit for 4 hours until solidified and cooled.
- Turn the marshmallow squares out onto a heavily powder-sugared surface. Using a long greased knife, cut the marshmallows into 1-inch pieces. As you’re cutting the marshmallows, keep all sides of the marshmallows dusted with powdered sugar and store in an airtight container.
2 vanilla beans
4 cups granulated sugar
24 oz high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
9 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups Dutch process 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. Bury the pods under the sugar. Cover tightly and let stand overnight at room temperature.
- In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and dark chocolate until finely ground, using 4-second pulses. Process in batches, if necessary.
- Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend, making sure to combine well. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
Yields: 76 2-Tbsp servings, or 12 3/4-cup servings (pictured)
For Serving: Combine 2 tbsp. cocoa mix with 8 oz. of very warm milk. Stir to combine until well blended.
Ty and I spent nearly 4 hours delivering these homemade goodies yesterday. It was so good to see our friends before the holidays, let them know we thinking of them and wish them a merry Christmas. And because we didn't get home until around 10 p.m., we've yet to sample these treats ourselves.
Tonight, I plan to be in my pjs by 7 p.m.; followed by cocoa at 8:30 p.m. and bedtime at 9:30 p.m. That sounds like an amazing treat to me!