Happy Valentine’s Day, peeps! I know this tends to be a sore topic for those who are single…but I’m married, and I have a super amazing husband, and I’m not ashamed of that. Especially since my extra special Cupid knows the way to my heart--- BACON ARROWS.
Our Valentine’s plans are still a little up in the air, but we do have one thing nailed down: A Good Day To Die Hard. Because Bruce Willis blowing stuff up is TOTES romantical. (Earlier this week, I got to purchase us a Groupon for a couple’s massage. We are all about balance.)
But where was I? Oh yes. Thirsty Thursday. Today’s treat is non-alcoholic, but you could absolutely add a shot of Bailey’s or Godiva liqueur in there to spice things up a bit.
Yes, yes. These were both Pinterest projects. And I crammed them together. I actually used these as Christmas gifts for coworkers, but it would totally work as a nice Valentine’s gift for family, teachers, coworkers, etc.
And if you’re single today, and don’t have any plans, then feel free to pamper yourself. Have dessert first, take a relaxing detox bath with a glass of champagne, listen to some Norah Jones, crawl into your favorite PJ’s, then curl up on the couch with your favorite blanket, a cup of spiked cocoa with extra marshmallows, and pop in your favorite anti-VDay movie.
Seriously. You WANT the cocoa… it’s delicious. The marshmallows were heavenly. They melted so well in the chocolate and just made a delicious, creamy layer on top, and the peppermint extract infiltrated down into the hot chocolate…it was fantastic.
But word to the wise: Making these marshmallows is a TWO person project. Otherwise you WILL end up a sticky mess.
But first: The hot chocolate mix.
Ingredients: (makes 8-10 gift bags, or 20 servings)
3 cups nonfat dry milk powder (I recommend Carnation—the generic brand can be a little chalky)
2 cups powdered (icing) sugar
1.5 cups cocoa powder (stick with the traditional—I’ve tried it with Hershey’s dark and it was a little bitter)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (if you wanted your cocoa to be flavored, you can replace this with mint chips, cinnamon chips, caramel chips, etc.)
1/2 tsp salt
cone-shaped treat bags
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Then move half the mixture into a food processor and pulse until the chocolate chips are finely chopped. Repeat with the second half of the batch.
Transfer about 3/4 to 1 cup of the mix into a treat bag, then set aside.
Ingredients: (makes about 80-100, depending on your cutting skillz)
butter (to grease your pan) & a 9 x 13 pan
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2.5 Tbsp unflavored gelatin (like Knox)
1/2 cup cold water
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp pure peppermint extract
8-10 drops of red food coloring
Grease your 9x13 pan (glass preferred—it’ll clean up easier) with butter, and then dust the pan with a tablespoon of powdered sugar to coat. This will allow the marshmallows to come out of the pan easily when you’re ready to cut them.
Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer (yes, you REALLY do need a stand mixer—this stuff gets SUPER thick and has to be beaten for about 8 minutes), sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water to soften.
In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup of water over low heat and stir until dissolved. Then heat to boiling, and cook WITHOUT STIRRING for about 30 minutes or until the mixture reaches 240F (soft ball stage). If you don’t have a clip for the side of your pot to hold the thermometer in place, you can fashion one out of tin foil. (make sure the tip of the thermometer isn’t touching the bottom of the pan or you’ll get a false reading.) Once you hit 240F, remove from heat.
Now, slowly pour your sugar-syrup into the bowl of softened gelatin while beating on low speed. Once it’s all added, increase the speed to high and beat 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is white and has almost tripled in volume. Then add the peppermint extract and beat on high speed for one additional minute.
HERE’s WHERE THE SECOND PERSON COMES IN: One person needs to hold the mixing bowl over the 9x13 pan. The other, using a spatula and wet hands, will scrape the marshmallow “fluff” into the pan. It is EXTREMELY STICKY. If you touch the “fluff” with non-wet hands, or with a non-wet portion of your body (say, arm)…it WILL stick, and you’ll have stringy bits of marshmallow decoration all over you and your kitchen. Once you’ve gotten as much out of the bowl as you possibly can, pat the “fluff” into the pan with WET hands to spread it out.
Now, drop red food coloring randomly onto top of marshmallow mixture and pull a wet or greased butter knife through food color to create swirl pattern over top. Let stand uncovered at least 8 hours or overnight.
Now… dust a large cutting board with powdered sugar, and turn out the marshmallow onto the cutting board. Place a bowl with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar off to the side. Use a pizza cutter to cut the marshmallow into strips (you’ll periodically have to re-grease the wheel) and then cut each strip into 1-inch cubes. Drop the cubes into the bowl of powdered sugar and toss—this will keep them from sticking to each other, and to you.
Now—back to your hot cocoa bags. Place about 6-8 marshmallows in each bag, then twist shut, and decorate as you choose. Since we did these for Christmas, I used green ribbon & holly berries, but for V-Day you could do shades of red, white & pink. Print out some instructions (1/4 cup cocoa mix + 1 cup milk + 2 marshmallows) and use patterned scissors for sassy flair.
NOTE: These marshmallows make a FANTASTIC S’more. If you’re going to have a romantic fire going in the fireplace, bust out some marshmallows and grahams! :D