Thursday, 5 July 2012

Chocolate swirl marshmallows & spiced hot chocolate

If you are thinking of treating yourself or pampering a friend or maybe just cause you feel like something cosy on a cold day, this hot chocolate and homemade marshmallow was a little of all of those for me. Seeing I'm the non coffee drinker of the family and Mr M is the coffee man (4-5 cups a day on a good day!) and visiting the capital coffee state, Melbourne on our Honeymoon many moons ago, I had to at least order something each time we frequented a little cafe in the botanical gardens for breakfast each morning other than a glass of orange juice. It was here, I became hooked on hot chocolates, I blame Melbourne! I never knew so many hot chocolates could all taste so different at all our stops along the way (yes, I was a bit sheltered - haha!). Some with marshmallows, some with cream, some without cream, some with cinnamon, some with cocoa and some with milk or dark chocolate.

I usually just buy a ready made tin of drinking chocolate and just add water these days at home or if I'm feeling a little daring and if I haven't eaten them all, I may add a good old Pascal marshmallow. This Donna Hay recipe that I came across last year caught my eye and all my memories of Mr M and I wandering the streets of gorgeous cafes feeding our faces and sampling those treats came flooding back. Then my bubble burst with the shriek of "MUM......I'm hungry", "MUM.....Mr 8 won't let me hold the cat", "MUM.....can we lick the spoon". OK, honeymoon dreaming over, back to being a Mum!!

It was the enjoyment of seeing their faces when they tasted the marshmallow and having them think how amazing that we had made our own. The marshmallow itself was a little tricky at first as when you're beating the hot syrup into the gelatine  and it's cooling down, you need to act quickly or it becomes one big sticky mess. That part was fun with all 3 wanting to sample the gooey thick white mass. The hot chocolate itself was very tasty and if you prefer a little less on the spicy taste I would just add one star anise rather than the two. I used milk chocolate but you can use dark if you prefer a richer taste. The marshmallow has to be eaten within a couple of days so I'd recommend saving it for a special occasion or a get together with your besties or you might find yourself having to eat a lot of marshmallow!! 

For the Marshmallow you will need:
1 1/2 tablespoons gelatine powder
1/2 cup (125ml) water
1 3/4 cup (160ml) light corn syrup
1/4 cup (60ml) water, extra
200g dark chocolate, melted

Firstly place the gelatine and water in a bowl of an electric mixer and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Place the sugar, corn syrup and extra water in a saucepan over high heat and stir sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Place a sugar (candy) thermometer  in the saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook until the mixture reaches 120C (250F).

With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the sugar mixture to the gelatine mixture. Increase the speed and whisk for 4 - 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and beginning to cool.

Pour the marshmallow mixture into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper, top with the chocolate and use a skewer to make swirls. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside, at room temperature, for 4 hours or until set. Cut into squares

(these are best eaten in 1-2 days, do not refrigerate)

For the spiced hot chocolate you will need:      (serves 4)
1 litre (4 cups) milk
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 star anise
1 1/3 cups (135g) grated milk or dark chocolate

Heat the milk, cinnamon and star anise in a medium saucepan over medium heat until just boiling.

Gradually whisk in the chocolate until combined.

 Remove the spices and divide the milk between 4 cups. Top with squares of marshmallow.


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