Friday, November 21, 2008

Warm Ups

The weather is cool. We've pulled out the candles and the slippers and long johns. My sweats-clad children do their school work wrapped in reading blankets in front of the fireplace. Afternoons are spent raking heaps of leaves and mulching them into bits for a vegetable garden in the spring. Our cheeks are rosy red from the cold but we shed out of our jackets. Raking is hot work.

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.

Hot Cocoa
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.

Add:

4 cups milk

Heat through but do not boil.

Stir in:

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.


Homemade Marshmallows

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.

Add:

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.

7 comments:

ValleyGirl said...

Hmmm, homemade marshmallows.... I've been tempted to try them, but so far it hasn't gotten past the temptation stage! Hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows sure does sound delicious, though!

Thanks for these great recipies!

ThyHandHathProvided said...

Kate, I love the new look of your blog and imagining all your kids in front of a fire place with books:-).

40winkzzz said...

I like the new look! It goes perfectly with your post. And I'm really NOT sorry to see the gun & little Mr Bill dude go. :-)

Mama JJ said...

I second Thy Hand and 40winkzzz---like the new look. And the picture at the top is lovely.

-JJ

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

First of all, I love your new header. Was that a picture from your trip this summer?

Secondly, I made that exact recipe of hot chocolate this evening for me and the kids, except I used the full amount of sugar...I'm a total sugar junkie! I've never tried the homemade marshmallows, but I'm going to try them the next time I make hot chocolate.

I so wish that we were real, live neighbors!

Xandra

Christy said...

Oh, that's a great idea for a thank-you for the friends who are having us over for Thanksgiving! I was having a hard time coming up with something :)

Faith said...

Homemade marshmallows ... who knew it was possible? I might have to go whip up some hot cocoa and marshmallows now ...

I do love the new look of your blog, btw! And I am wondering: What is a reading blanket? (Whatever it is, I like the sound of it!)