Hot Chocolate with Homemade Marshmallows

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There is nothing like warming up with hot chocolate after skiing, skating, or playing on a winter day.

We generally make ours from scratch so that we can ensure chocolate from a peanut-free facility. It also provides a way to control the sugar content. From a friend’s suggestion, I tried sucanat found in the bulk section of Whole Foods or other natural food stores.

What is Sucanat?

Sucanat stands for SUgar CAne NATural. It is a sweetener made from organic sugar and is minimally processed. After the sugar cane is harvested, it is pressed to squeeze out the cane juice. A syrup is created and then crystallized. It has a lower glycemic index rating than refined sugar, which means it is absorbed into the body at a slower rate.

Thanks to my husband and kids, we also sometimes enjoy homemade marshmallows in our hot chocolate. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll never want to eat store-bought ones again! The kids love whipping up the ingredients in the mixer. We haven’t tried adjusting the sugar, but it might just be a project waiting in the wings.

Alton Brown's Homemade Marshmallows

Ingredients

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup ice cold water, divided

12 ounces (approximately 1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Nonstick spray

Directions

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into ½ inch to 1-inch squares using a knife dusted with confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

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