Nothing warms you up on a cold winter day like a steamy mug of hot cocoa, and there’s no cuter way to give someone that luxury than with hot cocoa on a stick. These are the perfect afternoon activity when you feel like whipping up a batch of something yummy for yourself and all of your friends. Don’t shy away from making your own marshmallows — all you need is a good candy thermometer and you’re ready to go. I love this digital candy thermometer because it beeps when it reaches the temperature I’ve set. That way no matter how distracted I might get, I know it’s time to take it off the heat! So roll up your sleeves and get ready for the yummiest cold weather ever — hot cocoa on a stick!
The best part of making your own cocoa and homemade marshmallows is that you can personalize them with any flavors you like. Try adding a couple of drops of mint extract, a dollop of creamy peanut butter, or a teaspoon of espresso powder into the chocolate mix. Roll the finished marshmallows in crushed peppermint, mini chocolate chips, or even swap the vanilla extract for something exotic like rose or lavender.
Once you master making these at home, I promise you’ll never go back to packaged cocoa mix or store bought marshmallows again.
recipe adapted from KingArthurFlour.com
For the Cocoa:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk, 14-ounces each
- 6 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups dark or unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
For the Marshmallows:
- 3 packets unflavored gelatin, 1/4-ounces each
- 1 cup water, divided
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup or light agave nectar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Crushed peppermint (optional)
- Cooking spray
You will also need:
- candy thermometer
- 9 x 13 baking pan
- 4-quart or smaller saucepan
- Parchment paper or foil
- Stand mixer with a wire whisk attachment
- Lollipop sticks
Making the Cocoa Blocks:
- Line the baking pan with parchment or foil. Spritz with cooking spray.
- Combine heavy cream and evaporated milk in the saucepan and stir to combine.
- Heat over medium heat until steaming, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
- Remove pan from heat and add chocolate. Stir until there are no more lumps.
- Pour into prepared pan. You’ll be using the same pan as the cocoa blocks to make the marshmallows (unless you have two!), so take a minute to clean up, fix yourself a margarita, and prep for making the marshmallows while they set — about 40 minutes.
Making the Marshmallows
- Line the baking pan with parchment or foil. Spritz with cooking spray and dust lightly with powdered sugar.
- Pour 1/2 cup of cool water into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Sprinkle the packets of gelatin on top and stir gently with a fork to make sure there are no dry spots.
- Meanwhile, add sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring only until sugar melts.
- Raise heat to high and cook without stirring until the candy thermometer reads 240ºF. Remove from heat.
- Turn mixer on low and slowly add the sugar mixture, trying to pour along the side of the mixing bowl to help cool it as it’s combined.
- Increase the speed to high and whip until very thick and fluffy, about 10 minutes. The side of the bowl should be lukewarm to the touch.
Add the vanilla to the mixture and continue to beat one minute more.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan. If necessary, use a wet silicone spatula or fingers to smooth the top.
- Let sit for 4 hours or overnight.
Assemble the Hot Cocoa on a Stick
- Gently remove the parchment or foil from the cocoa and the marshmallows.
Pro Tip: To keep your workspace clean, I recommend working with the marshmallows first so they don’t get chocolate smudges on them!
- Cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares using a clean, wet knife and roll in powdered sugar or crushed peppermint.
- Cut the cocoa into 1-inch squares. You can also roll the cocoa in peppermint or unsweetened cocoa powder if desired.
- Slide one marshmallow square midway up a lollipop stick and follow with a cocoa block. Repeat for all remaining cubes.
- For gifting, you can place each stick in a cellophane bag and wrap with a tiny ribbon. Bonus points for printing out a cute little tag with directions to swirl the cocoa blocks in warm milk for maximum delight.