Nothing beats a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a cold and frosty day. I'm not sure exactly where my mother got her recipe for the best homemade cocoa mix ever, but I vividly remember making a batch of it in Girl Scouts back in the '70s. I've added cinnamon to the original recipe, lending a little mystery and soothing spice. Making it has become a winter tradition for my daughters and me. And now that they're a little older, we make homemade marshmallows, too, elevating a child's treat to a gourmet indulgence. Marshmallows are deceptively simple to prepare; just allow several hours for the mixture to set and avoid a damp day, as they will get sticky.
Hot Chocolate Mix
- 1 box (9.6 ounces) of dried milk
- 1 can (26 ounces) of Swiss Miss (or any brand you prefer) milk chocolate cocoa mix
- 1 pound box of powdered sugar
- 8 ounces of nondairy creamer
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Mix ingredients well and store in an airtight container. Use 3 heaping table- spoons of dry mix to 1 cup of hot water per serving.
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup of light corn syrup
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup of water
- 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- Vegetable oil
Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper, allowing for a 2-inch overhang on all four sides. Brush the parchment paper lightly with vegetable oil.
Put the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, put the other 1/2 cup of water and the gelatin into a mixer bowl and let soften.
When the syrup reaches the correct temperature, start the mixer on low, beating the hot mixture into the dissolved gelatin. It might clump, but keep going. Gradually raise the speed to high, beating until the mixture turns white and is very stiff. Beat in the vanilla. Pour into the prepared baking dish, smoothing with a spatula. Let stand, uncovered, until firm (about 3 hours).
Sift the powdered sugar onto a work surface, unmold the marshmallow on top and peel off the parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with vegetable oil and cut the marshmallows into squares, rolling each in powdered sugar to coat. Store in an airtight container and consume within a week.