The children work with enthusiasm. In the long term, they are earning money for Christmas gifts. A sizable amount for each child. We have a forest of leaves to contend with. In the short term, they look forward to a mug of hot apple cider with whipped cream or hot chocolate topped with a large homemade marshmallow. The kids put away the rakes, the tarp, and the push mower while I head inside to prepare our afternoon warmth.
I adapt the cocoa recipe off the side of the Hershey's cocoa canister:
In a saucepan, mix:
1/4 cup sugar (this is half the amount of the original recipe. I like my cocoa on the less sweet side)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup water
Bring to a boil and boil for two minutes.
4 cups milk
Heat through but do not boil.
1 teaspoon vanilla
Serve with whipped cream or marshmallows (recipe follows)
I first started making homemade marshmallows a few years ago. They make the best S'mores! They melt into a smooth, tasty, gooey mess. Mmm. I like to stir my hot chocolate a few times and let the heat melt the marshmallow so I get a little taste of the marshmallow in every sip. If you give away homemade hot chocolate mix for the holidays, you might consider adding a plate of these marshmallows as an accompaniment.
Pour in mixing bowl (a Kitchen Aid works really well for this recipe. I have not tried it with a hand mixer but I'll bet it's possible) :
1/2 cup of cold water
Sprinkle over water:
3 envelopes of Knox gelatin
Soak for ten minutes.
Combine in saucepan:
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water
Bring to boil.
Pour boiling syrup into gelatin and mix at high speed.
1/2 teaspoon salt
Beat for 12 minutes.
Blend in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Butter a 9x13 inch pan. Lightly oil hands and spatula as well. This is sticky business! Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Cover the pan with saran wrap and let the mixture dry over night. The next day, cut the marshmallows into squares. Store in a covered container.