Beverages

Recipe—Creamy Hot Cocoa in a Crock-Pot

Over the weekend we had a holiday cookie decorating party for my son and his little buddies from school. It was wonderful! All the kiddos huddled around the table eating the cookie toppings quicker than they were putting them on the actual frosted cookies getting all hopped up on sugar. I love this time of year!

I wanted to have a little hot cocoa bar where all the kids (and grown ups) could make themselves a fancy cup of cocoa. I’m not talking little envelopes of dry god knows what. I’m talking thick and creamy REAL hot cocoa. The kind that fills you up and warms your belly, the kind that leaves a thick creamy mustache on your upper lip with every sip. I made this a couple of hours before the party and it was perfect! Along with a big crock pot full of pure joy I had bowls of marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, crushed candy canes, chocolate sprinkles, whip cream, and then of course some grown up mixers (Kahlua, Disaronno, Baily’s, Frangelico, and peppermint schnapps). Hey if you know me, you know I don’t half ass anything. 😉

This hot cocoa was by far the best I ever had! If you are having a few people and want to make something very special this holiday season then I recommend you make this hot cocoa. It will take every grown up back to their childhood days and will be memorable for all the kiddos.

Note: Makes 8–12 servings.

INGREDIENTS
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz bag chocolate chips (dark, milk, or white chocolate will all work)
2 c heavy whipping cream
6 c milk (2% or whole)
1 tsp vanilla

STEPS

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large crock-pot.
  • Turn on low.
  • Cook for 2 hours stirring occasionally using a whisk.
  • Ladle into a mug, add in your mixer (optional), and top with your favorite treats or leave as is.
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Sweet Treats

Recipe—Homemade Marshmallows

I was trying to come up with a cute idea for a Christmas gift for my son’s teachers and came up with the idea of making hot cocoa gift baskets. You know, a mug, some hot cocoa, some homemade cookies, and marshmallows. Well I am never the person to take the easy way out by just buying an actual bag of jet puffed marshmallows at the store, I wanted these gift baskets to be special, made from the heart. So I decided to attempt to make my very own marshmallows. Gourmet marshmallows seem to be all the rage this season but unfortunately they can cost a fortune. With this recipe you can make your own at home. They are a little bit of work, and one might by intimidated, but they are actually easy. I think the hardest part was waiting for them to set! These homemade marshmallows put store bought marshmallows to shame and are so totally worth making on your own. If making your own marshmallows isn’t on your bucket list it should be. Give these a shot. They will take your hot cocoa on a cold winter night over the top!

Note: The original recipe I followed called for using a stand up mixer but I used a hand mixer. You can use either. The marshmallows can be very sticky and difficult to handle so the trick to cutting them is to constantly coat them in powdered sugar after every slice of the knife.

INGREDIENTS
3 c sugar
1 1/4 c light corn syrup
water
4 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 c powdered sugar

STEPS

  • Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • While sugar water is heating up add 3/4 cup water to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the 4 packs of gelatin over the top. Set aside.
  • Bring the sugar water mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 235º.
  • Carefully pour the hot sugar water into your mixing bowl with the water and gelatin and mix on low.
  • Add the salt and increase mixer speed to high.
  • Beat the sugar mixture on high for 5 minutes and than add vanilla.
  • Continue beating the mixture for another 5 minutes.
  • When you are done, pour the marshmallow cream into a greased 9” x 13” pan.
  • Smooth the top and gently tap to release air.
  • Leave the dish on the counter for at least 10 hours.
  • After the waiting is up sprinkle the entire top of your marshmallows with powdered sugar making sure it’s coated and place a cutting board over the top of your dish.
  • While holding the cutting board and dish together carefully flip the dish and cutting board upside down simultaneously releasing the marshmallows onto the cutting board. (Your set marshmallows will now be upside down on the cutting board.)
  • Lift the baking dish and sprinkle all of the exposed marshmallow with powdered sugar making sure there are no exposed areas.
  • Using a large sharp knife cut into 1” strips and coat each exposed side with powdered sugar.
  • Cut those strips into 1” cubes making sure you coat each cut side with powdered sugar.
  • Once done, sprinkle all of the marshmallows with the remaining powdered sugar making sure there are no exposed sticky areas.
  • Enjoy in a big mug of hot cocoa!