Hot chocolate is synonymous with cold weather to me. I’m a year round tea drinker, but the hot chocolate comes out when I’m in thick socks, wrapped in blankets, because I can’t feel my toes. I was raised on Cadbury’s instant hot chocolate and cups of it now still deliver the same comfort as they did when I thought my mum was some kind of chocolate drink making wizard. It’ll always be my go to (especially with a bit of Baileys poured in), but this is a whole different beast. With the marshmallows, this is near dessert-like and just so good.
I used dark chocolate which in part is what makes it so dessert-like. It’s very rich, but the brown sugar cuts through any bitterness.
The marshmallows aren’t a requirement, but my god you NEED to make them. In the hot chocolate, once they start to melt around the edges, they make the most comforting flavour bombs in your mouth. Don’t be intimidated by the need for a sugar thermometer, all that’s really involved is just patiently waiting for the sugar to get to the right temperature.
Spiced Hot Chocolate
Makes one mug
220ml whole milk
1 cinnamon stick
45g dark chocolate (I used 70%)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
grated nutmeg to taste
- Heat the milk and the cinnamon stick in a pan on low until just starting to steam. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave for 5-10 minutes so the cinnamon flavour develops.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and add the chocolate and cocoa. Whisk with a balloon whisk until dark and smooth.
- Add sugar and spices and whisk until combined. Taste and add extra spice or sugar if necessary.
- Serve in a mug with a few of the gingerbread marshmallows!
These sound complicated, but I promise they aren’t. Marshmallows really are just a case of waiting around! Read through the recipe and get your ingredients ready before you start.
24g powdered gelatine (2 packets of Dr Oetker)
240g caster sugar
200g light brown sugar
120ml golden syrup
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
generous grating of nutmeg
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
stand mixer with the whisk attachment
baking tin (i used 9″ x 9″)
- Put the water into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle over the powdered gelatine. Put this to one side.
- Add the sugars, syrup and treacle to a medium saucepan (please don’t use a small saucepan) and pour enough water in to just cover the sugar. Stir everything together. Heat the sugars gently until dissolved, bring the heat up until the sugar starts to bubble. Be VERY careful here and don’t leave the pan alone. This mixture with brown sugar will bubble up and out of the pan, so once it is about to boil you’ll need to turn the heat right down. Keep the sugar bubbling away until the temperature reaches 120ºC. It doesn’t matter if you go a little over 120C, but don’t take it off the heat before then. This will take up to 15 minutes.
- Once the sugar has reached 120ºC, take it off the heat and leave for 1 minute. Start whisking the gelatine on a low-medium speed.
- Pour the hot sugar mix into the mixing bowl, slowly. Pour it down the side of the bowl, keeping it away from the whisk attachment. Once all the sugar is in the bowl, keep whisking for around 12-15 minutes, until the mixture resembles bubblegum and you start seeing stretchy strings come away from the whisk and side of the bowl.
- Add the spices and whisk for just a few seconds until combined.
- Mix the icing sugar and cornflour together in a small bowl or container you can cover, then prepare your tin. Lightly grease the bottom and sides with vegetable oil, then put in some clingfilm. Lightly oil the clingfilm and sprinkle over some of the marshmallow powder.
- Lightly oil a stiff spatula. Pour the marshmallow mix into your prepared tin and let gravity do as much as it can, then use your oiled spatula to help scrape down the sides into the tin. Marshmallow is very sticky, so don’t worry if you can’t get it all into the tin. Lightly oil another piece of clingfilm and then press this over the marshmallow mix. Put into the fridge to set. The marshmallows will be firm after a few hours but leave them in for 24 hours to get the best, most ‘marshmallow’ texture. If you take them out sooner, they have quite a sticky, cloying texture.
- Once the marshmallows are set, get out your icing sugar and cornflour mix and sprinkle some over a clean surface or chopping board. Pull off the clingfilm from your marshmallow mix and turn out onto the powdered surface. Use a pair of lightly oiled scissors or a pizza cutter to cut your marshmallow into pieces, then toss each piece in the sugar flour mix. Put in an airtight container and keep in a cool dark place (or your fridge) for up to 2 weeks.