A couple of years ago, I decided that I was going to make everyone marshmallows and hot chocolate, I remember getting a lot of good reviews so I decided that I was going to do it again this year. It is just something different then cookies and breads, and you can put it away for a later date if you want (well at least the hot chocolate.)
This year instead of just plain ol' hot chocolate mix, I made Mexican Hot Chocolate. The difference is that it has cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Now, I made the first batch and it was really good but I wasn't really able to taste the cayenne pepper. SO...when I made the second batch, being the super smart person I am, I decided to add just a bit more of the pepper. Not something I recommend. I didn't add much, but man! I ended up having to split the second batch into two and mellow them down a bit to tame the heat. The second (and third) batch were/are still spicier then the first but were much more tolerable. I even got a "tell your wife shes the bomb" response from one of my husbands friends, I must admit the compliment felt good.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
3 cups non-fat dry milk
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 brown sugar (I used dark)
3/4 cups white chocolate chips
3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/8 cups dark cocoa powder (such as Hersey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Add all ingredients into a food processor, pulse until well mixed and most of the chocolate chips are broken down. (This may need to be made in batches depending on the size of your processor.)
Combine about 1/3 of the mix with hot water or milk, mix well and top with a homemade marshmallow.
Now. Marshmallows. If you like marshmallows and have never made your own, I highly recommend it! They are so much better, fresher, softer, did I say better, then store bought and really easy to make. The other thing with making your own marshmallows you can flavor them anyway you want by just adding extracts, or cocoa. For this recipe I just did plain since the hot chocolate had extra flavors.
Vegetable oil, for brushing
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract (or what ever flavor you would like)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, for dusting
Brush a 9 x 13 pan with oil, I like to also line the pan with foil (which will also be oiled) that hangs at least two inches over the sides for easy removal, dust the pan with some of the powdered sugar. *You can not over oil the pan!
Bring the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 3/4 cups of water to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
In a standing mixer, with the whisk attachment, add 3/4 cups cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let soften for at least 5 minutes.
On low speed, whisk the sugar mixture in to the gelatin. Switch to high speed, add vanilla and beat until stiff and looks like marshmallow fluff. About 12-15 minutes.
Pour into the prepared pan, smooth and set aside, uncovered until firm. About 3 hours. Cut in to 1" squares or what ever shape your heart desires.