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Hot Cocoa Mix + Homemade Marshmallows

Hot cocoa mix is very easy to make yourself. Why buy the store-bought kind when you probably already have everything you need to make it? This mix also makes a great gift for family and friends. When you give them their homemade hot cocoa mix, surprise them with homemade marshmallows!

Here is a really easy recipe for homemade hot cocoa mix:

3 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups cocoa
1 tablespoon table salt

Mix all ingredients together. Store in a canning jar or other airtight container. To serve, add 2 tbsp. of the mix to 1 cup hot milk or hot water.

Okay, so are you ready for this? You can make your own marshmallows! So this isn't something you are probably going to do on a regular basis. The marshmallows only keep for about a week. They are a fun gift to give with your homemade cocoa mix, however. You can make them to look like regular big fluffy white marshmallows, or you can add flavor or color to them or cut them out into fun shapes.

Here is the recipe for making homemade marshmallows:

4 packages unflavored gelatin
3 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Combine 3/4 cup water with the sugar and the corn syrup in a large sauce pan. Heat to a boil, and then continue cooking to soft ball stage (235 degrees). This will take about 3 or 4 minutes.

While the sugar mixture is cooking, place 3/4 cup water in a large mixing bowl. If you have a stand mixer, you will want to use it for this recipe. Sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top of the water in the mixing bowl and let set while the sugar mixture is cooking.

After the sugar mixture reaches soft ball stage, turn your mixer on low and slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture. Add salt. Turn mixer on high and beat the mixture for 5 minutes. Add vanilla. If you want to make the marshmallows a different flavor, leave out the vanilla and add a couple drops of the extract of your choice, like peppermint. You can also add a few drops of food coloring at this point if you wish.

Continue beating the mixture on high speed for 5 more minutes.

While the mixer is still going, grease a rimmed 9x13-inch cookie sheet. After the 5 minutes are up, carefully pour the marshmallow mixture onto the cookie sheet, gently shaking pan back and forth until the mixture is smooth. Leave the pan out on the counter overnight for the marshmallows to set.

The next day, sprinkle your work surface with powdered sugar (the marshmallow mixture will be slightly sticky). Turn the marshmallow mixture out of the pan onto your work surface.

Now you can use a large knife to cut the marshmallows into large squares or you can use small cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes. Use more powdered sugar as necessary to prevent sticking. Don't pull a knife back and forth through the marshmallow mixture or the marshmallows will tear.

These marshmallows will store in an airtight container for about a week.

These might sound hard to make, but they really aren't. If I can make them, you can! The key to making any kind of candy is using a good candy thermometer.

Copyright 2013, Creative Homemaking, LLC. This article may not be reprinted.

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Rachel Paxton
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