DIY Gift: Creamsicle Marshmallows with Spicy Hot Cocoa Mix

Spicy hot cocoa mix with creamsicle marshmallows #holidays #diygift #foodgifts

Marshmallows feel like such a wintery food for me.  I know that a lot of you might immediately think “s’mores” when you consider marshmallows, but I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan.  I’m not sure why…I love marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers individually, and I like s’mores flavored desserts, but the actual s’mores? Meh.

So for the most part, I make marshmallows exclusively in the winter. They were the first candy recipe I mastered, and I love playing with different flavor variations.

Creamsicle marshmallows #holidays #diygift #foodgifts

Heather and I were discussing what goes well with citrus the other night (we’re both on a quest to eat all the citrus this winter!) and the orange-chili combo came up.  It seemed like the perfect twist for my hot cocoa mix + homemade marshmallows gift.

Now, who wants to come over for a spicy hot cocoa with creamsicle marshmallows? I have plenty!

Creamsicle marshmallows #holidays #diygift #foodgifts… 

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DIY Gift: Hot Cocoa, Hot Chocolate, and Maple Marshmallows

Candy-making is a tricky thing to master.  Every time I attempt to make some sort of caramel or fruit jellies, something goes wrong: I stir when I’m not supposed to, or I get nervous that it is taking too long and decide my thermometer must be broken, so I pull it off the heat before I should. Note to self: all of the thermometers are not broken.  Except for the one where the digital screen is cracked and therefore illegible.  That one should be tossed.

Someday, I’ll master it: I’ll go in with a little more confidence and a little more preparation, and end up with perfect fudge. My first step towards that is mastering the art of making marshmallows.  They seem a little less finicky than most candy recipes, and I’ve successfully made three different marshmallow recipes… chai, plain and now maple.  Next step?  Mastering those fruit jellies I’ve been trying to make for months.  In the meantime, I’ll be gifting jars of hot cocoa mix, hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows for the holidays.

Whether they are a hot chocolate or hot cocoa person, your family and friends will certainly appreciate an instant mix they can use on the snowiest evenings or on Christmas morning, especially when it is paired with fluffy, homemade maple marshmallows . If you don’t know which they prefer, give them one of each and let them decide for themselves.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 5 1/2 cups (fills 5-6 half-pint jars)

Hot Cocoa Mix

Pour 1 cup of hot milk or water (hot milk will give you creamier and, in my opinion, tastier cocoa) over 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa mix. Whisk until all the powder is dissolved, and enjoy!


  • 2 cups nonfat instant dry milk
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor and package into jars. If you don't have a food processor, you can also whisk it by hand, but be sure to break up any clumps that may form.

Hot Chocolate Mix

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups (fills 2-3 half-pint jars)

Hot Chocolate Mix

To prepare hot chocolate: Pour 1 cup of hot milk over 2-3 tablespoons of mix. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted. The milk will give you a creamier and, in my opinion, a tastier hot chocolate, but you could also use hot water as a substitute.


  • 8 ounce chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Whisk together all ingredients and package into jars or other food-safe containers.

Maple Marshmallows

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 36 regular marshmallows or 100 mini marshmallows

These marshmallows will add a sweet maple flavor to your hot cocoa and hot chocolate. Pack them into an airtight bag and pair with a jar of hot cocoa or hot chocolate mix for an easy holiday gift.


  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 3 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch


  1. Line a 9"×9″ baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the powdered sugar and cornstarch together, and spread half over the parchment paper.
  3. Pour gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Allow to rest, undisturbed, until the gelatin absorbs much of the water.
  4. In the meantime, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of water with the maple syrup, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Allow the liquid to boil undisturbed (no stirring!) until a candy thermometer says it is 240F, about 7-10 minutes. Immediately remove the syrup from the heat.
  5. Turn the stand mixer on low and gradually pour the syrup into the gelatin. Increase the speed to high and beat until the marshmallow is thick, lukewarm and beginning to lose its shine. Add vanilla in the last minute.
  6. Pour the marshmallow into the lined baking pan and dust with the remaining powdered sugar and cornstarch. Allow to rest uncovered at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or until firm.
  7. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the marshmallows into squares. Dip the sticky uncoated edges into powdered sugar as you cut.

Maple Syrup from Vermont sent me product and compensated me for this post, but all opinions within this post are my own.  I really do love maple syrup!

Chocolate-Dipped Candied Orange Peels

Candied Orange Peels 1

When you make a fennel blood orange salad, or otherwise eat oranges, don’t toss the peels.

Instead, refrigerate them until you have the peels of 4-5 oranges.  Candy them and dip them in rich dark chocolate for a sweet dessert.

I used this recipe with the peels of four blood oranges.  Blanching the peels three times may seem like a lot, but really takes the bitterness out of the pith, leaving you with thicker pieces of chocolate-covered orange candy goodness.  Make them this week.

Candied Orange Peels 2