Last night we went to our annual Christmas Party/Book Exchange with two other families. The kids look forward to this every year because we eat snacky foods, have delicious desserts, and the kids do a book exchange. What's not to love?
I took a couple of new recipes but what went over the best was the Hot Chocolate Bar that I set up.
I took our hot water pot (a gift from a friend last year), hot chocolate mix and three different toppings - homemade marshmallows, chocolate dipped candy canes, and peppermint fluff.
I saw "peppermint" swirled marshmallows in a tea shop. I made the same recipe from last week, even forgetting to add the vanilla at the end again. This time I put them in a 9x13 inch pan instead of a cookie sheet so they would be thicker. That worked better. I added a few drops of red food coloring and swirled it with a toothpick to hopefully give it a peppermint look.
David stamped out the marshmallow shapes with small cookie cutters for me. I had intended to do all candy cane shapes this time, but he got creative and used others.
They were really cute in the end. I let them sit out all day so they'd be less sticky by the evening. They worked well and the kids loved them in their hot chocolate.
The next hot chocolate topper we made were chocolate dipped candy canes. Brennan handled these and did a great job. Once they were all coated, I let them sit out for a couple of hours to harden and they came right off the parchment without any issues.
I melted a mix of semisweet and milk chocolate chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and liquidy. Then we dipped them and placed them on the parchment paper.
Finally we made Peppermint Fluff as I saw it called on "Unwrapped" (a show on the Food Network).
Take a regular size box of candy canes, remove the wrapping, break them up into three pieces or so and put them in the blender. They'll be reduced to a fine dust. When we took the top off the blender there was a huge puff of peppermint smoke. Then we whipped a pint of whipping cream in the mixer with 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar until it was good, thick whipped cream.
Then I added 3/4 cup of the peppermint pieces to the whipped cream and mixed. I stored the remainder of the peppermint in a baggie in the pantry.
The outcome is a fluffy, pink whipped cream with some slightly larger pieces throughout. Everyone loved this on their hot chocolate! I think it would be good on a cake as well. It had a mild peppermint flavor. You could add all of your candy cane powder for a more intense flavor.
So hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, chocolate covered candy canes, and Peppermint Fluff. A great ending to a fun evening!