6 Weeks Of Homemade Food Gift Ideas - Week 1: Hot Cocoa Mix with Homemade Marshmallows

An all-time favorite item for both giving and receiving, you just can't beat a delicious hot cocoa mix and homemade marshmallows push it right over the top.  You can package them separately, or, if you want them together just leave a little room at the top of the jar for marshmallows.

If you would like to add a little variety, you can make spicy hot cocoa mix by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper, or you can go for flavored marshmallows.  Any baking extract would work in place of the vanilla.  If you want to make peppermint, using just 1/4 teaspoon peppermint baking extract along with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract makes a perfect minty marshmallow.  You can dust them with crushed candy canes instead of the powdered sugar.  Delicious!

Vanilla Marshmallows
2/3 cup + 1/2 cup cold water, divided
3 {1/4-ounce} envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup or Lyle's Golden Syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup confectioners sugar or ground candy canes, for dusting

Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan.  Pour 2/3 cup cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the water and let stand about 10 minutes, until the powder has turned to gel.  Attach the wire whisk attachment.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1/2 cup water, the sugar, syrup and salt.  Cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start the mixer on low speed and, slowly and carefully, add the hot syrup to the gelatin.  Add the vanilla.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture becomes bright white, shiny and thick.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle the top with confectioners sugar or ground candy canes for a peppermint flavor.  Let them sit, uncovered and at room temperature, at least 12 hours.  Turn them onto the counter and, with a greased knife, cut them into the shapes desired.  Alternatively, you can cut them with a greased metal cookie cutter.  Dust the pieces with additional powdered sugar and/or ground candy canes to prevent them from sticking to one another.

Store in a covered container at room temperature up to 3 weeks.

Hot Cocoa Mix
Makes 5 - 8 ounce jars

4 cups Confectioners Sugar
2 cups Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sift together all of the hot chocolate mix ingredients.  Mix well.  Using a spoon, pour the mix into each of the jars.  Screw the lids on the jar and attach the following directions:

Spoon 1/4 cup of the mix into a mug.  Heat 1 cup of milk until hot but not boiling.  Pour the milk over the cocoa mix while whisking them together.  Top with marshmallows.

Additional Homemade Food Gift Recipes:
Homemade Coffee Syrup
Pumpkin Spice Granola
Salted Caramel Sauce
Candy Bar Coated Pretzels
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pretzels
Homemade Vanilla, Lemon, and Orange Baking Extracts
Herb or Spice Blends
Strawberry-Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Flavored Salts
Homemade Truffles

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