Peppermint Marshmallows: That Look As Pretty As They Taste

I surprise most people when I tell them that I love the snow. It’s true. I don’t mind the cold, and I think snow is amazing. I love how it changes the landscape of the things I see everyday into something so beautiful and different. I even sort of love shoveling it- it’s true! Being out in the hush chill, getting all warm and toasty while making neat pathways…  I also love to ski, but that’s something different.
But one of the best parts of being out in the snow, either playing in it or just moving about- is coming in for hot chocolate. I am known for being a chocolate fan, but warm milky chocolate sipped with red cheeks is my kind of afternoon.
As you know, there is hot chocolate and there is hot cocoa. Essentially interchangeable, though different in preparation. Dark chocolate of any kind can be melted and stirred into heated milk and then sweetened to taste. This is my preferred style. Good quality chocolate has as many nuances of flavors as a glass of wine. Though I don’t boast knowledge of different chocolates- I can certainly tell the good from the… eh. When it comes to chocolate-I don’t do “eh”. Aside from this it was the way that the Mayans made Xocolatl, and I like that idea.
Roasted cocoa beans when ground eventually give up their oils and liqueur and turn into dark beautiful chocolate. I can see hands working the stone, placing some of the rich brown yumminess in a stoneware cup, adding hot milk and creating a drink. Gotta love that romance.
But Hot Cocoa is just as tasty- again- good quality cocoa is a must. No dusty dried out packets out of a box- make your own- get the good stuff, it doesn’t use much and turn a brown drink into a heavenly treat. THAT’s the way it was intended to be enjoyed, not as a glass of chocolate milk warmed.
Now- to that- marshmallows. I’ve been making my own marshmallows for a long long time now. They used to be a big thrill, but these days, everyone is getting in the game. Bravo!
For my beauties I took them just a little step further. First off I added a middling dose of peppermint. It’s a wonderful pairing as they melt into the chocolate. The second is I’m just not a fan of the cube. They’re ok, and I’m not opposed to the iconic shape, I just like to make pretty where I can.
I opted for two different shapes. The first is a rosette in three different shades of pale pink. Just SO pretty against the dark brown chocolate, and so lady like and sweet to behold. Using a star tip I simply piped them out of a pastry bag onto the tray into rosettes.
Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Clouds

The second shape is more like a cloud. Puffy folds of marshmallow float softly in the cup. So much nicer than a dusty cube, don’t you think? For these I used a Rose Tip icing tip and made random folds and mounds to my liking. Super simple and fun to make.

Homemade Marshmallows
makes tons depending on the size, enough for any crowd and more
 
 
3T unflavored gelatin
.5c cold water
 
12oz sugar
1c clear corn syrup
.5 c water
.25t peppermint oil or 1t peppermint extract
2c powdered sugar
 
red paste food coloring (optional)
 
In mixing bowl combine water and gelatin and let stand. Attach whisk.
 
In heavy saucepan combine sugar, syrup and water. Boil on high heat until the syrup reaches 240˚ on a candy thermometer or soft ball stage
 
With the mixer on medium low, slowly and carefully pour syrup over gelatin.
 
Continue to beat until cool, approximately 5-7 minutes.
 
Before it gets too stiff or cool, add the extract and carefully dab some food coloring into the marshmallow. A little goes a long way so start with the teeniest bit.


The consistency of the marshmallow needs to be stiff enough to maintain it’s shape when piped, but not too stiff for it to become stringing and tight.
 
To pipe rosettes: Using a pastry bag or large plastic freezer bag, fit with a #8 star tip.
 
Prepare several sheet pans with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Alternatively you can line trays with plastic wrap and spray as well.
 
Fold down sides of bag halfway and fill the cone. Pulling the sides up, twist it closed.
 
While pinching the twisted part between thumb and first finger, squeeze the bag with the rest of your hand. Use your other hand to guide the end of the pasty bag. Sort of keep a finger on it so it doesn’t go rogue on you.
 
Make the swirls by starting on the outside and form a concentric circle in while applying even pressure on the bag. When finished stop squeezing and quickly lift the bag to break off the rosette.
 
This takes a little practice, so have fun and play around a bit at first. Learn the latitudes of more pressure vs speed etc.
 
To get the different colorations I started out with the palest pink. When I exhausted the marshmallow in the bag, I tinted the rest of the batch a little deeper and then repeated this again with the final piping round.
 
Once the marshmallows are piped sift some powdered sugar over them to cover completely and allow them to dry overnight.
 
Once dry remove from the paper and dust the bottoms to prevent them from being sticky.
 
Store in an airtight container or in cello bags.
 
To pipe clouds: Use the same technique as above to prepare your pastry bag, this time fitting it with a #104 Rose tip.
 
Make the clouds by randomly piping folds and ripples by placing the wider end of the tip towards the paper. This will create a thicker base and a frillier, fluffier upper edge.
 
Make them as random and pouffy as you like.
 
Dust them thoroughly as above and allow to dry overnight. Remove from the paper and dredge the bottoms in powdered sugar.
 
Store in airtight container or cello bags.
Hot Cocoa Recipe
makes 4c of rich delicious cocoa
 
.33c Valrhona Cocoa Powder
.75c white sugar
pinch of salt
.33c boiling water
3.5c milk
.5c cream
 
In a saucepan combine cocoa, sugar and salt and stir to combine. 
 
Whisk in boiling water and stir smooth
 
Add milk and cream and slowly and carefully warm to desired temperature. Take care not to boil or scorch.