The Apocalypse is supposed to happen this Friday. It’s also the Westchester Breakfast Club’s third anniversary. As well as the annual WBC Secret Santa exchange! Given these three rather important events, we deicded to roll it all up and celebrate it on Friday with some good old BBQ at the Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem.
Happy Apocalypse Secret Santa Anniversary Day!
But before I can enjoy these festivities, I had to get my randomly chosen recipient a gift.
Since I am avoiding anything mall related like the plague, buying something under the budget of $20 didn’t seem worth donning the haz-mat suit of patience for a mall visit. I could buy off the internet, and maybe just ship it directly to him. That would reduce the carbon footprint and save me from paying to ship it myself (Thanks to being an Amazon Prime member or really, thank you Andrew!), but that would be kind of tacky.
Last option…make something homemade and use the budget for packaging and shipping. I think I can do that!
I know he likes hot chocolate, so I decided to make a hot chocolate mix along with some homemade marshmallows to go with it. I hope he
likes it receives it. I got his address through my brother (to not raise suspicion), which might be a risk. Also, since it is not yet Friday, I hate to ruin the surprise, but because of the previous reason, keep an eye out! It’s in the mail!
For the Marshmallows, I decided to follow David Lebovitz’s recipe due to its simplicity. It’s a simple recipe, but you really need to read through it a few times to make sure you have everything prepped and have a good understanding of each step. It’s not a highly technical recipe but many of the steps are intertwined.
You need a candy thermometer for this one. I went out and bought a candy thermometer for $8.99 (you get an extra 20% off from Bed Bath & Beyond!). Money well spent because you really don’t want to be holding a thermometer close to a pan full of boiling, bubbling sugar at 245 degF. Not at all.
The recipe calls for 1 cup each of powdered sugar and cornstarch for the marshmallow mix. 1/2 cup of each will be more than enough.
I poured my marshmallows on a sheet pan. My reasoning was, since I wanted to make smaller marshmallows to fit into the jar I was packing this in, I should spread it out thinner. Not necessary. I’d use a 9×14 pan next time and get a thicker marshmallow block. You can always cut the block into smaller pieces, but you can’t piece together thin pieces to make a block.
You will get the marshmallow mix everywhere. Just be prepared and don’t dust your pan at the edge of the counter top, lest you want that mix all over your floor and your black shirt and pants. I also don’t have a sifter, but a mesh strainer did the trick.
Make sure that marshmallow mix covers the entire pan well. That marshmallow is sticky, and that mix keeps it from sticking to the pan.
After all the stuff is in and it’s whipping away, let it go until the bowl no longer feels hot to the touch. It doesn’t need to be cold, but it should be just warm. It’s not the end of the world (that’s Friday) if you pour it out warmer than it should be, it just then requires more time to dry out.
Do not touch the warm marshmallow with dry hands. It’s sticky and will get everywhere.
Don’t worry about the mess. Hot water with a little soap will clean everything beautifully.
Mine had to dry twice. Once the tops were dry, I powdered them down with some of the mix, but when I turned them over, the bottoms were wet. So i turned it all over and let it dry some more overnight. That did the trick.
They were so light and airy. I don’t usually like to eat marshmallows straight up because I always find them too sweet, but these, I kept popping in my mouth every time I walked by the dish.
As for the hot chocolate mix? I followed this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, and halved it (just in case I didn’t like it).
Some Hot Chocolate notes:
1 package of nonfat dry milk (enough to make a quart) is about 1.5 cups.
I used my special double-dutch dark cocoa powder.
I used 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips and 1/4 cup cinnamon chips.
Another warning. This mix gets everywhere the moment you open up the food processor once you’ve processed it a bit. Everywhere.
To make the hot chocolate, I heated up some unsweetened almond milk (I’m shying away from dairy these days) and mixed it with 3 heaping spoonfuls of mix (1/3 cup). It’s not sweet and deliciously chocolat-y. I ran out of marshmallows (gave most of it away and ate the other half), but I’m sure the addition of the marshmallow would sweeten it up nicely without going overboard.
All in all, I spent $5 on the container and $10 on shipping. Everything else I had on hand, so that doesn’t count. I hope he likes it!
I know I did!