Recipes from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch and King Arthur Flour
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You may remember seeing hot chocolate on a stick as one of the homemade gifts we gave people at Christmas. I had heard about the idea on someone’s blog (wish I could remember whose!) and when I happened across a recipe for cocoa blocks on the King Arthur website, I knew it was meant to be. I added homemade marshmallows on top of the cocoa blocks to finish it out, then individually wrapped them in plastic wrap and ribbons. They made sweet little stocking stuffers, but would also be a nice valentines day gift for chillier climates. Homemade marshmallows are, by the way, sooo worth the effort. Not that hard and super delicious. These two recipes are mostly verbatim, although I did change the pan size on the marshmallows, because I thought hers were way too thin (I ended up folding them before putting on the stick.
- three 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
The NPR news story on this book has great step-by-step pictures.
In a tiny saucepan, over low heat, dissolve the gelatin in 7 tablespoons of water. It will be pale beige and viscous. Turn off the heat.
In a larger saucepan, heat the granulated sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until dissolved. Let it boil until it registers 265 F on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a mixer, begin whisking the egg whites. Beat until firm and glossy. As soon as the sugar syrup registers 265 F, begin pouring it in a slow steady stream into the egg whites, beating constantly. Add the gelatin and continue beating. When you start, the hot liquid will slosh around the bowl and you will think it is hopeless; by the time you are done, the mixture will have swollen into a luxuriant white cloud. Whisk until the bowl is cool to the touch.
Whisk in the vanilla.
Lightly grease an 8×8 pan. Mix together the cornstarch and confectioner’s sugar and sift half onto the cookie sheet. You want a really generous bed of powder. On top of this, spread the marshmallow and smooth the top. Let sit overnight.
In the morning, cut the marshmallows into 1 1/4 inch cubes with a sharp knife. If they stick, dip the knife in water. (Damp scissors can also help with the job.) Toss the marshmallows in the leftover powder; you want all the exposed sides of the marshmallows to be lightly coated in powder, which will keep them from sticking to each other.
Store in a cookie tin or resealable plastic bag. They keep indefinitely, though they become crustier and less appealing after a week or so.
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
- 3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chopped chocolate bars or chips)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened baking chocolate
- wooden sticks
Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with aluminum foil.
Heat the cream and condensed milk over low heat until steaming. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; allow it to gently melt. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan; shake the pan gently to level. Set aside overnight to slowly set up.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn out onto a clean cutting surface. Slice into 1 ¼” cubes. Heat a knife in hot water and wipe dry before each cut, for smoothest cuts.
Stick a wooden stick into the center of each marshmallow and slide it up the stick just far enough to accommodate the cocoa block. Add a cocoa block to the bottom of the stick. Wrap in plastic wrap and secure with a ribbon to store.
Yield: about 3 dozen blocks.