Wednesday, March 25, 2009

winter's last hurrah

hot chocolate

There is our last mug of hot chocolate (unless we get some crazy weather!) for the season...and the ultimate mug-full! After a few years of trying various homemade hot cocoa recipes with no success (I mean, they all made hot cocoa, but none of us really liked any of the results) I finally discovered the secret. Don't mess with cocoa! Go for the's so simple, but so much better. Why I never thought of it (and why everyone keeps pushing the cocoa) I do not know. Here's how we like it:

For each mug, put 1 cup of a rich whole milk into a small saucepan (got so-so whole milk? make your cup up out of 2 ounces of cream and 6 ounces of whole milk) and heat until just bubbling. In a larger saucepan, put 1 tablespoon of water and 35 grams of a decent milk chocolate and melt together over low heat. Add heated milk and stir until smooth. Dark chocolate would probably be good too, but milk chocolate works for us. (I use the 99 cent bars from ikea, you need 1/3 of a bar per mug.)

And to top your chocolate? Homemade marshamallows!

freshly cut marshmallows

I have wanted to try making marshmallows for years, and only now finally got around to trying it. So easy -- if you have a candy thermometer, a stand mixer, and the patience to leave the pan of marshmallow along overnight. I used the Alton Brown recipe and they are ridiculously good. (Vegetarians -- from what I have read online, you can sub 1 T of agar-agar for each packet of gelatine.) We'll definitely be trying flavored ones in the future.

And they melt amazingly, witness the result in Emily's favorite dessert, Pixie's Delights (basically, baked s'mores, from a vintage kid's cookbook we have).

pixies' delight

I cannot wait to toast these! And....while I can wait for next winter, when it does come back around I will be well-prepared.


  1. Sarah, you are killing me with the pictures of the delicious, delicious hot chocolate! I'm swooning! I gave up chocolate for Lent and really jonesing for some now. All I can say is the Easter Bunny better be good to me or there will be hell to pay.
    I've made marshmallows before using a recipe from Martha Stewart Living. They turned out really nicely and were rather tasty, as I recall. I bet those would be really yummy dipped in melted chocolate, then rolled in graham cracker crumbs...
    I need to go take a cold shower. :-)

  2. Yummmmmmmmm! I haven't made marshmallows since I was about 11! I made some chocolate ones using a recipe from a candy cookbook I had gotten that Christmas. As a matter of fact, I just tracked the book down and ordered it a few months ago ;o) I had so many fond memories of those recipes and wanted to share that with the kids, who, by the way, were totally unimpressed...
    Do you really only make hot chocolate on a seasonal basis? That must be an "up north" thing lol! I have been known to drink it in the summer, but we really don't have too much of a winter 'round here. I suppose if I limited it's use to cool weather, I'd only be able to drink it a few weeks out of the whole year!

  3. I am in awe. Those marshmallows look perfect! And yummy!

  4. Oh gosh, I could have told you to use chocolate! We use dark chocolate here. I buy Callebaut dark callets by the 10kg bag (I have people who usually buy in with me, but I have been known to buy a 10kg for just us). Anyway, we just heat up the milk and then whisk in the choccy. Too yummy!
    Hmmm, I might have to make marshmallows again. I found some light corn syrup lurking in the back of the cupboard. It's not so easy to buy corn syrup here which in general I am cool with for a variety of reasons, but it's so useful for certain candy making applications.

  5. Oh my gosh, your pictures are killing me! I've never tried making marshmallows, but that is how I make hot chocolate. One of my friends ran a coffee shop and taught me how to do the hot chocolate. My two favorite variations are to use white chocolate and a pinch of ground cinnamon or dark chocolate with a pinch of chili powder (SO good.) Now I'm craving chocolate...

  6. Yum! I am definitely going to have to try these!

  7. Oh my, those photos look delectable and nearly inspired me to go into my kitchen to start whipping up a bunch of treats! Well at least not now; but perhaps next week. :-)

  8. I have sent the link for marshmallows to my daughter we love marshmallows but she is the one that will get round to making them. Yummy!

  9. Could you please give me the name and details of the vintage kids' cookbook you talk about for the s'mores recipe? I remember it well but don't know the name.
    Thanks very much,


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