Is there anything better than coming inside on a blustery cold, snowy day and sipping a hot chocolate? It’s been on of my favorite things about winter ever since I was a little kid. This year I’m taking it to the next level with rich, spicy cocoa made extra frothy in a Mr. Coffee Latte (see my review and a coupon code at the end of this post) and topped with soft, squishy homemade marshmallows.
Homemade marshmallows might seem intimidating, but they’re actually super easy to make and can be whipped up in about a half hour. They can be customized in an endless number if ways and also make great holiday gifts – try wrapping up a packet of homemade marshmallows and some cocoa mix inside a cute mug.
Tips for making homemade marshmallows
1) Use pasteurized eggs (or dehydrated egg whites) – especially if you plan of giving these as a gift. While there are plenty of recipes that call for regular eggs, its always better to be safe than sorry! You can also forego the egg whites completely, but I really like the extra spring and light texture of ones that include them.
2) Powdered sugar/cocoa powder helps absorb moisture and dries the outside of the marshmallows as they set – they can turn into a sticky mess otherwise! Be generous when coating your pan and be sure to coat the sides too. I love using my OXO dusting wand for this because it helps me get a nice even coat without having to use tons of sugar. On a similar note, be sure to grease everything that will come into contact with the unset marshmallows (bowl, beaters, spatula, etc).
3) I made chocolate-hazelnut marshmallows, but customizing yours is very easy. Use a different syrup or try infusing herbs like lavender into the sugar mixture (strain before adding to the gelatin). You can also make boozy marshmallows by replacing 1/3 cup of water with your favorite liquor in step 1 – try amaretto! You can also use fruit puree instead of some of the water, like I did in these raspberry hibsicus marshmallows.
4) Do the dishes right away! As long as everything is greased well and the marshmallow is still wet, clean up is pretty easy. Once it dries out though is an entirely different story!
Chocolate Hazelnut Marshmallows Hot Cocoa + Chocolate Hazelnut Marshmallows
For the marshmallows
- ¼ cup Powdered Sugar
- ¼ cup Cocoa Powder
- 2 envelopes Unflavored Gelatin
- ½ cup Cold Water
- 1 cup Sugar
- ¼ Light Corn Syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Hazelnut Syrup
- 1 Large Pasteurized Egg White or Dehydrated Egg White mixed with water as instructed on package
- 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
For the hot cocoa
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
- pinch Cayenne Pepper
- 2 cups Fat Free Milk
- 2 homemade Marshmallows optional
For the marshmallows
- Combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Grease bottom and sides of a 13×9 inch baking pan; dust with sugar mixture, reserving the rest for later.
- Grease a large mixing bowl. Pour 1/4 cup cold water into bowl; sprinkle with gelatin. In a saucepan, cook 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Bring to a boil; continue to cook until the mixture registers 240-degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. Pour over gelatin mixture.
- Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until it become thick and white and triples in size – this can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat egg white until still peaks form, Stir the beaten egg whites into the gelatin mixture until just combined. Stir in 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
- Pour marshmallow into prepared baking pan; sift powdered sugar mixture over top. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
- Run a knife around the edge of the pan; invert onto cutting board and remove pan. Use a large, oiled knife to cut the marshmallows into 2-inch squares. Dust cut edges with sugar/cocoa powder. Store in an airtight container either in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
For the hot cocoa
- In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Stir well.
- In medium saucepan over low heat, combine spice mixture and milk. Whisk well to combine. Heat milk, whisking constantly, until it just begins to steam, about 3 minutes. Pour into serving mugs and top with homemade marshmallows.
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My initial reaction to taking my Mr. Coffee Latte out of the box was surprise at how small it was. I was expecting something big and clunky, but this is nice and compact and definitely takes up less counter space than any other coffee pot or espresso machine that I’ve owned. It’s easy to use and prepares lattes very quickly. The concept is pretty simple: the carafe plugs into the bottom of the machine to warm and froth the milk (there’s a little wand that extends down into the pot) while the coffee brews from above.
There’s an option to turn off the coffee brewing portion of the machine so you can use it to make hot cocoa or tea but unfortunately there isn’t an option to turn off the frothing portion of the machine – this wasn’t designed to replace your everyday coffee pot or to brew drinks that aren’t milk-based. I have found that you can simply not put milk in the pitcher if you just want a cup or two of coffee, but it’s not recommended and I don’t know if doing so will have a long-term impact on the device. It also only uses a 4 cup filter, so if you drink a ton of coffee or frequently have guests over you may find yourself needing to brew several pots.
Different types of milk (whole, fat free, almond, soy, etc) can all be used but will produce different amounts of froth so it can take a little experimenting to figure out what works for you in terms of amounts. I’ve found that one serving of skim milk froths really nicely but two servings doesn’t get quite as foamy. My ideal latte uses one serving of milk and two servings of coffee, so this is fine for me if I’m only making one. Of course, a double batch still comes out great – it just has slightly less foam (the cocoa shown above was prepared as a double serving; a single serving generally makes enough froth to make something closer to a dry cappuccino.)
The other thing worth pointing out is that this isn’t an espresso maker in the sense that it doesn’t use pressure to force the water through packed grounds – it works the same way as a standard drip coffeepot to brew strong coffee. While the final drink is great, some purists might balk at it being called a “latte.”
All in all, I’m definitely a big fan and this machine has earned a spot on my counter. Ive been using it often and am considering packing my old coffeepot away, although I haven’t made that jump yet simply because I drink plain coffee more often that lattes or cappuccinos. If you drink a lot of lattes or are an infrequent coffee drinker, you should definitely consider checking out the Mr. Coffee Latte.
Disclosure: I was provided with a Mr. Coffee Latte to review for free but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All opinions are my own.