Whenever it starts to get chilly this time of year, I can’t wait to make the season’s first delicious cup of rich, creamy hot chocolate. The smell of it makes me think of decorating the house with Christmas lights, wrapping presents, and watching those classic Christmas movies year after year.
I grew up with instant hot cocoa, the kind that’s complete with a splash of milk and some mini marshmallows, but trust me, once you’ve had this hot chocolate, you’ll never want to go back to the instant kind. Instead of depending on cocoa powder for the chocolate taste, melting good quality chocolate gives the drink an overall richer and creamier feel, making it that much more irresistible.
Melting the chocolate before adding it to the milk and cream mixture helps to ensure that the chocolate is fully incorporated without leaving little specks of chocolate behind.
This recipe is also flexible enough so that you can use whatever kind of milk or chocolate you like. My personal favorite is bittersweet chocolate, but if you choose to use semi-sweet, feel free to add less sugar to balance the sweeter chocolate out. This recipe makes enough hot chocolate for about 2 servings, but those servings go a long way because it’s so rich and creamy.
The only thing missing? Marshmallows, of course! With the help of a candy thermometer, you can whip up some homemade marshmallows at home. I decided to dress these marshmallows up by dipping them in more chocolate and sprinkling them with crushed peppermint.
The best thing about these marshmallows is that they leave plenty of room for customization. Like white chocolate more than semi-sweet or bittersweet? Switch it up! Prefer sprinkles to peppermint? Go for it! You can even use festive cookie cutters to make fun shapes. The choice is yours!
I recommend making the marshmallows ahead of time so that they have several hours to firm up before you start to make your hot chocolate.
Creamy Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
Author: Marisa Guerra
Creamy Hot Chocolate
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 ½ tbsp sugar (or less, if using semi-sweet chocolate)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler. Set aside.
- Combine milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla in a small nonstick pan. Cook over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until it begins to simmer.
- Turn heat to low, add melted chocolate, and whisk until it is fully incorporated.
Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (¼ oz each)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup water, divided
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- crushed peppermint (about 3 candy canes)
- Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and lightly coat paper with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Sprinkle some of powdered sugar on top of parchment.
- Stir together granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and ⅔ cup water in a nonstick pan. Cook over medium heat, until it reaches 240º F on a candy thermometer. Swirl pan occasionally, but do not stir as it cooks.
- While mixture cooks, pour ⅓ cup water over the gelatin in a stand mixer bowl and whisk to combine. Let the mixture sit for 5-7 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom, or dissolve.
- Once gelatin has bloomed and sugar has reached 240º F, carefully add the hot sugar mixture to the gelatin, mixing on low with the whisk attachment.
- Immediately add vanilla extract and continue to mix on medium high until mixture has stiffened, about 5-6 minutes.
- Carefully transfer marshmallows to pan, using a spatula lightly coated in cooking spray to spread them evenly. Lightly cover top in more powdered sugar. Let sit for at least 3 hours, until they become firm.
- Flip out the marshmallow block onto a surface lightly coated with more powdered sugar. Coat a knife with cooking spray and carefully cut the marshmallows to desired size, rolling edges of each marshmallow in remaining powdered sugar. Dust excess sugar off.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler. Let cool slightly before dipping marshmallows in. Gently place dipped marshmallows on a cooling rack and let set for a few minutes before topping chocolate with crushed peppermint.
- Add to hot chocolate or enjoy marshmallows by themselves!