Making your own hot chocolate mix is incredibly simple; throw all the ingredients in a bowl and stir! With most of the ingredients probably already in your pantry, in the long run making your own will save you money—one batch makes 16 servings! Plus, knowing that you’re drinking something completely homemade just makes it extra special. Top it with some homemade peppermint marshmallows and you’ve got yourself the perfect winter drink.
The marshmallows are a bit more involved, but well worth it. I’ve been eating handfuls of marshmallows by themselves! Floating on top of my cup of cocoa, they’re the perfect cool bite in my warm drink. Not a peppermint fan? Substitute the peppermint extract for the scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean, and you’ve got the perfect vanilla bean marshmallows.
Now that you’ve got the mix and the marshmallows, it’s time to share! Fill a small treat bag, disposable piping bag, or Ziploc bag with 1/3 cup of cocoa mix, top with a handful of marshmallows and tie with a pretty ribbon. Put your single serving cocoa package in a nice mug or tumbler, and you’ve got a great gift for a neighbor, boss, or teacher! Or fill a jar with cocoa and marshmallows for more than a single serving!
And don’t forget the gift tag to go with it! I made these cute printable tags just for you! Print out on cardstock, punch a hole and tie it up with festive ribbon!
Adapted from Alton Brown
Makes about 16 servings
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 ½ cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper (I used less than a pinch.)
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine all ingredients.
2. To make cocoa, mix 1/3 cup of mixture with hot water or milk. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream.
To store: Place mixture in a large airtight container, or divide into single servings, measuring out 1/3 cup of mixture and placing in zip top bags.
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes a LOT. (I didn’t really count, but it filled a gallon Ziploc bag nearly ¾ full of 1/2-inch squares.)
½ cup cold water, divided
Three ¼-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1. Make marshmallows a day in advance: Spray an 11x17-inch baking pan (or 9x13 baking dish for thicker marshmallows) lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper and lightly spray parchment as well; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup of water. Let soften for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine remaining ¼ cup water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Without stirring, continue to cook until syrup reaches 236F on a candy thermometer.
4. With the mixer on low, using a whisk attachment, slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the gelatin. When mixture turns opaque, add peppermint extract. Gradually turn the mixer up to high, beating until the mixture is thick, fluffy, and sticky, about 8 to 10 minutes. (The bowl will probably still be warm to the touch.)
5. Turn the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet. (Don’t worry about trying to scrape it all out of the bowl. It’s not going to all come out, and you’ll just end up covered in marshmallow. Trust me.) With wet hands, spread the mixture to the edges and smooth the top. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, and let stand overnight.
6. Once set, using a knife, a pizza cutter, or cookie cutter, cut marshmallows into squares. (Cut them as big as you want. Mine are about ½-inch squares) Toss in confectioners’ sugar to coat, tapping lightly to remove any excess.