I must confess: I’m off to a bad start. For my first post in this beautiful new blog that Lisa and Dave worked hard to create for me, I am showing off a recipe that I neither invented nor cooked alone. My partner, Dave, adapted Martha Stewart’s marshmallow recipe into something suitable to bring to the Hot Foods party we attended earlier this month. I helped make the marshmallows, named them, and insisted that we make hot chocolate to go along with them. Still, they were absolutely delicious, and it would be a shame not to share them with the world.
I love combinations of spicy and sweet, and am thrilled by the resurgence of spicy chocolates on the market, such as Jacques Torres’s Wicked Hot Chocolate and Dagoba’s Xocolatl. Gothamist recently posted a recipe for an Aztec Elixir martini. The City Bakery has a few levels of spicy hot chocolate at its Hot Chocolate Festival every year, and you can find spicy hot chocolate mixes from a number of companies in any gourmet food store. But none of them come close to making a plain, rich, dark hot chocolate and throwing in a few homemade aztec marshmallows. The creamy spiciness of the melting marshmallows in my hot chocolate did more for me than any storebought brand.
2 1/2 tbsp unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon extract
1 tsp hot chili powder
1 longish squirt of red food coloring
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 C cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Let stand 30 minutes. In a separate small bowl, combine the vanilla extract, cinnamon extract, chili powder, and red food coloring and mix until vaguely homogenous.
In the meantime, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 C water in a small heavy saucepan. Place the saucepan place over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, raise the heat to high and clip on a candy thermometer. Cook the syrup without stirring until it reaches 241° (firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.
With your mixer on low speed, slowly pour the syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, which ought to take about 15 minutes. Add the blend of extracts/chili/food coloring and beat to incorporate.
Generously dust an 8-by-12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners’ sugar. You want a nice coating of sugar on the bottom of the pan. Don’t worry too much about the sides – it’s hard to get the sugar to stick to the sides, and it won’t matter if you can’t manage to coat them. Pour the marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust the top with another generous layer of confectioners’ sugar. Let stand overnight (or as long as you can bear to wait – a few hours is enough if you are impatient or in a rush), uncovered, to dry out. Cut the marshmallow sheet off the sides of the pan and turn it out onto a board. Cut marshmallow sheet into 1″ strips, and then cut the strips into 1″ squares. Dust with more confectioners’ sugar as you go. Make sure that your marshmallows are coated with confectioner’s sugar in the end, as this is the only way to rescue them from being tacky.
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
A small mug’s worth of 2% milk
Melt the chocolate into the milk on the stove.