Cinnamon and a touch of cayenne give this hot chocolate a bit of a kick, while soft and fluffy homemade marshmallows sweeten the deal and make a complete gift.
MAKES 5 jars of hot chocolate mix with marshmallows
FOR THE MARSHMALLOWS
¾ cup cold water
3 (¼-ounce) envelopes unflavored Kolatin
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons powdered egg white, with enough water to reconstitute according to the manufacturer’s directions
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
FOR THE HOT CHOCOLATE MIX
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- Make the marshmallows: Into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or into a large heatproof bowl, pour ½ cup of the cold water and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let stand for 10 minutes to soften.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and corn syrup with the remaining ¼ cup cold water. Add the cinnamon and salt and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute.
- Pour the boiling syrup into the gelatin and beat at high speed in the stand mixer, or, using a handheld mixer, beat for 10 to 12 minutes, until the mixture is thick and white and has tripled in volume.
- In a clean bowl, mix together the powdered egg white and the water to reconstitute. Beat with a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form. Add the egg white and the vanilla to the gelatin mixture and beat just until mixed thoroughly.
- Dust a 10- × 15-inch jellyroll pan with confectioners’ sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Dust with ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and place, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 3 hours, or until firm.
- Loosen the marshmallow mixture from the edges of the pan and turn out onto a cutting board. Slice into 1-inch squares. Set aside.
- Prepare the hot chocolate mix: Sift together all of the hot chocolate mix ingredients. Using a wide funnel or spoon, pour 1½ cups hot chocolate mix into each of five 8-ounce jars. Top with cut marshmallows to fill the jar. (You will have extra marshmallows; reserve them for another use.) Screw the lids in place and top with a circle of fabric and a raffia tie. Include the following directions on a tag or label on the jar:
TO MAKE THE HOT CHOCOLATE
Spoon 1/4 cup of mix into a mug. Heat 1 cup of milk until hot but not boiling. Pour the milk over the cocoa mix while stirring or whisking. Top with marshmallows.