For teacher/aide/bus driver/therapist gifts this year I made homemade hot cocoa mix and marshmallows.
The hot cocoa mix was fun and easy to make! The hardest part was finding all the ingredients. The key to making good cocoa mix is to use whole milk powder. That was the hardest ingredient for me to find. I ended up with Nido Fortificada, which I found in the Hispanic food section at Walmart. It is also available on Amazon.com: Nestle Nido Instant Dry Whole Milk Powder.
The flavor of the hot cocoa is delicious! Very smooth and chocolatey and not too sweet. Usually when I drink hot cocoa I end up with a sickly, sweet taste in my mouth and that did not happen with this cocoa mix.
Making the marshmallows was quite an adventure! It took me three tries to get it right (I would not have made a fourth attempt). The problem was my candy thermometer. Apparently if the liquids are not deep enough, it does not read accurately. I ended up burning my sugar-syrup badly!
I packaged the hot cocoa mix and marshmallows in little bags, with enough of each to make about 4 servings.
Hot Cocoa Mix
Adapted from Alton Brown of The Food Network
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup cocoa (preferably Dutch-process)
- 2½ cups powdered whole milk (I used Nido brand)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. Can be stored indefinitely in an air-tight container.
Fill a mug about a third full with the hot cocoa mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine.