Friday, November 28, 2008

The Ultimate Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows for Tyler Florence Fridays

My pick for this week's Tyler Florence Fridays was born out of necessity.  Last weekend with the cooler weather and torrential rains, I decided I needed hot chocolate. Since I was thumbing through my Tyler's Ultimate cookbook at the time, it seemed like fate that I found his recipe for The Ultimate Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows on pages 234 and 235. 

Tyler says that most hot chocolate actually has very little chocolate but The Ultimate Hot Chocolate "contains layers of flavor: vanilla, coffee beans and cinnamon. The vanilla acts as a low note and the cinnamon a high note, bracketing the flavor of the chocolate and the coffee to give the drink an amazing, well-rounded flavor."

The Ultimate Hot Chocolate
Tyler's Ultimate, Tyler Florence

1 quart milk
2 Tbsp whole coffee beans
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup sugar
4-ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Marshmallows for serving

Combine the milk, coffee beans, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, sugar, chocolate and cocoa powder in a saucepan.  Bring it slowly up to a simmer over medium heat, stirring it frequently so that the chocolate doesn't scorch on the bottom of the pan.  Strain and serve hot, with marshmallows.  
(Serves 4)

Homemade Marshmallows

2 Tbsp powdered gelatin
1 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg white
1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting (up to an additional 2 cups)

Combine the gelatin and cold water in a medium saucepan.  After the gelatin has softened, about 10 minutes, add the granulated sugar and and stir together over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 8 minute.  Cool the mixture to room temperature.

In a mixer, beat the egg white until it forms stiff peaks.  On low, beat in the confectioner's sugar, then slowly pour in the cooled gelatin mixture, increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is white, thick, and has doubled in volume.

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil. grease it lightly with butter and dust very generously with sifted confectioner's sugar.  Pour in the marshmallow mixture and sift more confectioner's sugar over the surface.  Let the marshmallows stand at room temperature for at least three hours or overnight to set.  The marshmallows will be light and spongy when set.

Loosen the marshmallows from the edges of the pan and invert onto a large cutting board. Peel off the foil and use a large knife to cut the marshmallows into cubes.  Dredge each piece in more sifted confectioner's sugar.  
(Serves 4-6)

Notes/Results:  The chocolate is quick and easy and made in only one pan. The flavor is rich but not overpowering as the cinnamon and coffee cut some of the sweetness.  I used a 2% milk and it still was rich and very decadent. Now for the marshmallow saga--this was my first time making homemade marshmallows and I didn't really know quite what to expect. I thought I was doing OK but after letting them sit out overnight, they were very flat, watery and not like the puffy little clouds I had envisioned.  My pride is such that I did not want to be bested by a mere marshmallow so after re-reading the recipe and looking at other marshmallow recipes online, I thought I had it figured out and decided to try again several days later. 

I think my first mistake was using organic powdered sugar, which seems to not be as white and almost takes on a grey cast when moistened.  The second and bigger issue was the mixing.  I think Tyler could have been a little more detailed in the mixing directions. He does say to increase your mixer speed to high and beat until the mixture is white, thick and double the volume, but for us marshmallow neophytes it would be good to note that this process with take at least 10 minutes.  Since I have the patience of a 6 year old most of the time, I grew bored the first time I was mixing them up and stopped way to soon. This time I hunkered down with my mixer and beat the ever-loving bejesus out of the mixture with dramatically different results.  My mixture this time was much thicker and lighter than the first batch--more like a marshmallow cream.  (If I would have had a ripe banana and peanut butter, I would have made a fluffernutter sandwich with the beautiful puffy clouds).  It set up quickly and my marshmallows were light and puffy and delicious.  I mixed up more hot chocolate and tried again.  Heavenly!  Another great Tyler recipe for me and one I would make again on another cold and dreary day now that I have the hang of the marshmallows.

If you are a Tyler Florence fan(atic) and want to join us on Fridays, by choosing a Tyler recipe you want to make, come visit the TFF site here.  The round up will be posted there each Friday so come see what recipes the TFF members made and how they liked them.

If you are thinking of making a soup, stew, chili or other one dish meal out of your Thanksgiving leftovers and want to join me for Souper Sundays, shoot me an email or leave a comment and I'll add you to the Souper Sunday Round-up.  You don't have to make or post your soup on Sunday, that's just when I round them up.


  1. that is a HUNK-A marshmallow :) the hot chocolate sounds delicious too. I, myself want to try making marshmallows but am afraid to...way to go :)

  2. You are my hero for making marshmallows. So happy you gave it a second shot.
    I have also heard that rain and humidity are killers for meringue.
    The hot chocolate sounds dynamite - I love the idea of coffee and cinnamon in it - definitely right up my alley.

  3. I agree with Natashya - humidity is not conducive to marshmallow making.

    With that being said, the hot cocoa looks to die for! That's going on the to-make list!

  4. Yummy. My husband recently made homemade marshmallows, but we were missing the homemade cocoa to go with them.

  5. Your hot chocolate looks awesome! The recipe sounds similar to a Mexican Mocha--made with coffee, cinnamon, and chocolate.

  6. After reading your post, I am tempted to make marshmallows. Thanks for the useful details. Love the cat spoon!

  7. Kat--it is a hunk! Once i figured out the whip the bejesus part out it was pretty easy to do!

    Natashya--ah, makes sense on the rain--maybe that added to the mixture. The hot chocolate is fab.

    Megan--I didn't think about the humidity part! The cocoa is great!

    Summer--they cry out for cocoa! ;-)

    Gloria--maybe a little less cinnamon flavor to it but it was similar.

    KC--go for it--hope the tips help. I love that little spoon too! ;-)

  8. You made marshmallows? I am in awe!

  9. Oh yeah. Homemade marshmallows. Doen't get any better than that. Great job Deb.

  10. Someday I'll get up the nerve to tackle marshmallows! They look fab with that hot cocoa. I'm going to try joining you guys for TFF. I do a little soup thing of my own on my blog, but I may send you links for the Souper Sunday roundup as well. LLLLOVE soup!

  11. That's a huge piece of marshmallow. Gotta try my hot chocolate like this sometime. Swiss Miss just doesn't cut it.


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