Sweet Holiday Gift Idea: Hot Cocoa on a Stick

28 Nov

I’m already starting to think about holiday baked goods–after all, Christmas is only 27 days away! The holidays can sometimes seem overwhelming, but this is an easy, cute, and unique gift that you can make weeks in advance!

Hot Cocoa

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup heavy cream

14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate, chopped

25 lollipop sticks

Prepare an 8×8″ pan by spraying it lightly with cooking spray. Place the chocolate chips and chopped baker’s chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl.

Over medium-high heat, mix the heavy cream and the sweetened condensed milk together in a medium saucepan.

Bring a mixture to a simmer, whisking to make sure it doesn’t scorch. Once the liquid is simmering, pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a moment to warm the chocolate.

Stir the cream and the chocolate together, until the mixture is shiny and smooth. It will be quite thick.

Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Allow this to firm up overnight or 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.

Once the chocolate has set, use a large knife to cut the block into 1 1/2″ squares. For the smoothest cuts, rinse the knife with hot water and dry it between each cut. I set my chocolate in the freezer after I cut it to allow it to firm up a little more before popping them out of the pan.

Peppermint Marshmallows

This was my first attempt at making marshmallows–and I was completely unprepared for the stickiness! Make sure you have plenty of powdered sugar on hand to keep things from getting out of hand.

Adapted from The Nerd’s Wife

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup cold water

2 1/2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

red food coloring

Grease sides and bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with butter. Dust with powdered sugar really well.

Pour cold water into bowl of a mixer. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and let sit.

In a heavy saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water over low heat. Stir constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat the syrup to boiling. Boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 240° on a candy thermometer. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes–be patient!

Remove from heat and, with the mixer running on low, pour the hot syrup in a thin stream into the gelatin.  Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and beat until the mixture is white and has almost tripled in volume–about 8-1o minutes.

Add peppermint extract and beat to incorporate–about 15 seconds more on the mixer.

Remove from the mixer and add 4 drops of food coloring. Fold by hand 3-4 times to swirl color. Don’t mix too much or you’ll end up with pink marshmallows.

Pour marshmallows into prepared pan. Drop food coloring randomly on the surface of the marshmallows and drag the color through the mixture with a butter knife or toothpick. Again, don’t mix too much! Let the marshmallows sit, uncovered, for at least 4 hours.

After the marshmallows have set, sprinkle your work surface with powdered sugar. Place 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a bowl or shallow dish. Loosen the marshmallows in the pan by running a knife around the edges and gently transfer them, all in one piece, to the prepared work area. (That step sounds easier than it is; I would suggest using a large spatula dusted in powdered sugar to assist, and if you can find them, maybe even an extra pair of hands. Thanks, Mom!) The marshmallows will be extremely sticky–immediately dust the exposed sides and top with powdered sugar to prevent any grief while you’re working.

Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cut marshmallows into 1 1/2″ squares. Dust all sides of the marshmallow by dipping them in the bowl of powdered sugar.

To assemble, skewer a marshmallow and a piece of cocoa fudge on a lollipop stick. I would suggest putting the marshmallow on first, followed by the fudge underneath it, otherwise the marshmallow will leave the stick all gooey.

Wrap in a cellophane treat bag and tie with a holiday ribbon.

If you are making these in advance, you can store the fudge up to a month in an airtight container in the freezer (one week at room temperature) and the marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 weeks.

To enjoy the hot cocoa: Remove marshmallow from stick. Heat a mug of milk (not water!) and submerge chocolate block. Allow it to soften for a moment and stir vigorously to dissolve. Top with the marshmallow and enjoy!


3 Responses to “Sweet Holiday Gift Idea: Hot Cocoa on a Stick”

  1. Ginger November 28, 2011 at 9:04 PM #

    Sell this idea to Starbucks!


  1. Chocolate Covered Raspberry Marshmallows « baking all the rules - February 8, 2012

    […] reinvented the marshmallow recipe that I used for the Hot Cocoa on a Stick recipe. The raspberry marshmallows are unexpected surprise inside the chocolate coating and the […]

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