These mugs may just be the very best gift you can give this Christmas.
What they hold and what they symbolize (warm and cozy) just say “Merry Christmas”…and that you actually spent some time (but not hours!) and put thought into the gift.
I just feel like everyone can really get excited about a good, creamy, chocolatey cup of hot chocolate. Especially if it is snowing and freezing cold out.
I know you are probably thinking making homemade marshmallows must be hard, but honestly it took me fifteen minutes of prep time and twelve of those minutes the mixer did all the work.
I promise they are really easy and worth it. Not only for their awesome taste, but you also get to cut them into adorable little holiday shapes. They turn out so cute!
And the cocoa mix?
Well, first of all it is the best cocoa mix you will ever come across. It is universally loved by everyone. Adults, kids, girls, guys… everyone. It is really just perfect and I pretty much never say anything is perfect. I am usually one of those people who think most things can always use a little improvement, but not this.
The cocoa mix is a mix of milk chocolate, dutch cocoa powder and white chocolate. The white chocolate is the secret. There is only a little, but it adds such a nice touch of sweetness and flavor.
Oh, and my other secret?
Roasted vanilla beans. They are amazing and I will be telling you all about them soon. If you don’t have vanilla beans and do not want to spend the money on them you can skip this step, but you guys it is worth it! Just splurge and do it!
Once you have everything together all you have to do is assemble the mugs.
Oh, and I even made some cute recipe printables for you to hang off the side of the mugs. You can find them here or make your own design here or I am sure you can probably find others online too. This is just what popped up when I googled it.
And I will not blame you if you make the mugs and end up deciding they are too cute and too good-looking to give away.
In that case, light a candle, start a fire, put on some Christmas music and enjoy your cozy, creamy hot cocoa.
- Vanilla Marshmallows
- 3 (1/4-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup cold milk
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup corn syrup (karo syrup)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 whole vanilla bean, spit in half and seeds scraped out (optional)
- Double Chocolate Roasted Vanilla Bean Hot Cocoa Mix
- 2 whole vanilla beans
- 3 cups non-fat dry milk
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 cups dutch processed cocoa (or regular cocoa, but I really like dutch for this)
- 1 2/3 (11 ounces) cups Milk Chocolate Chips
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) white chocolate chips
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- To assemble
- 4 (8-12 ounce mugs) or 3 (12-16 ounce) mugs
- clear plastic cookie bags (I used [these bags | http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pack-of-144-Tall-Cellophane-Christmas-Snowflakes-Cookie-Treat-Bags-with-Bands/26752519] from Walmart)
- Holiday ribbon
- Candy canes or red and white striped straws
- [these printable recipe cards| http://projectus.print.avery.com/temp/anonymous/2013-11-29/Projects/da846c9c-9c0f-4814-9a0f-f665ab8a95f7/preview.pdf]
To make the marshmallows. Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water and let stand for 10 minutes. In the meantime place a medium saucepan on the stove. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup cold milk. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into the gelatin mixture. Add salt, vanilla and vanilla bean seeds. Turn the mixer onto medium speed and gradually increase the speed to the highest setting and whip for 12 minutes.
Spray a rubber spatula. Spread marshmallows evenly into pan using prepared spatula. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours.
Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Cut marshmallows into 2-inch squares using a sprayed sharp knife or use mini holiday cookie cutters to cut them into fun holiday shapes. Place powdered sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat. Store the marshmallows in an airtight container.
To make the cocoa mix. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the vanilla beans directly on the grates of the oven and roast for 20 minutes. This step is optional, but it really adds amazing vanilla flavor.
Remove the beans from the oven and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Puree for 2 to 3 minutes, until most of the bean has been broken up. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and discard any big pieces and place the vanilla powder back in the bowl of the food processor.
Combine all of the remaining hot cocoa ingredients in a large bowl. Work in two batches, pour half the ingredients from the bowl into the food processor and pulse until the hot chocolate is finely ground. Repeat for second batch.
To assemble the mugs. Place the bags inside your mugs and spoon the hot cocoa powder into the clear plastic bags. You should have 3 cups total of mix. I mad three mugs with 1 cup of hot cocoa mix in each mug.
Add the marshmallows right on top of the hot cocoa. I added 1 big handful of marshmallows to each mug. Tie the holiday ribbon around the top to close the bags. Now grab your candy canes or striped straws and stick them right down the center of you mugs (through the center of the marshmallows and cocoa).
Punch a whole through your recipe cards and slide a piece of ribbon through the hole. Attach the ribbon somewhere on the mug. And start handing out cute little gifts of Christmas warmth and happiness!
Marshmallows adapted from [Martha | http://www.marthastewart.com/341856/vanilla-marshmallows]
Oh, and do not forget to add the marshmallows and whipped cream.
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag your photo #halfbakedharvest.