There are many people out there who believe Valentine’s Day is just another “Hallmark Holiday.” Spoiled by cheesy cards, red roses, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, Valentine’s Day has become a holiday people avoid.
I have sweet childhood memories of making hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies with my mom, reading note cards from my classmates, and eating those super-sweet, chalky candy hearts. I loved the colors, flavors, and scents of the holiday. It’s just a short, sweet reminder of the simple pleasures in life, and to eat your chocolate.
As an adult, Valentine’s Day is still a holiday I enjoy with my mother and girlfriends, even more so than with any significant other. We still send each other Valentine’s and I still bake a plethora of gooey, buttery, scrumptious goods coated in chocolate. It seems, to me, like the perfect holiday to tell all those around you what they mean to you. It isn't a day to resent what you don't have, but better to enjoy who is around you. And maybe, it's a girly holiday because we just love pink and red.
However you like to spend the holiday, I highly encourage you to roll up your sleeves and get messy with some chocolate. If anything, the smell alone will fill your heart, and your home, with some sweet memories.
My absolute favorite thing to make on Valentine’s Day is hot chocolate. There’s something about the cold, snowy atmosphere that makes sipping on a warm, rich cup of creamy hot chocolate so comforting and rewarding. There is no way that my hot chocolate will be sipped in the absence of marshmallows, either. They add a sweet, sticky texture to your cup.
Here at One Girl, we have a very delicious cup of hot chocolate we like to create. It’s so simple, you can make it at home for your loved ones. Or just for yourself! Give it a shot, but don’t forget the marshmallows (which are even better when you make them yourself)!
Instant rich Hot Cocoa & Homemade Marshmallows
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Homemade Marshmallow (recipe follows)
- In a small saucepan, heat 2/3 cup of water to a simmer. Pour the water into a heat resistant bowl and add the chocolate chips and cinnamon. Stir thoroughly until all of the chocolate is melted. Let the ganache cool for 20 minutes.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of ganache into individual size disposable paper cups. Transfer the cups into an airtight container, and put into the refrigerator. Let cool completely. Sealed in an airtight container these ganache cups will stay fresh for 2 weeks.
- When you are ready for a cup of hot chocolate, fill your favorite mug half way with hot milk and unwrap a ganache serving into the mug. Stir thoroughly until the ganache has melted.
Note: You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Coat a 9 x 13-inch rectangular baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment ½ cup of cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let it sit as you prepare the other ingredients. The gelatin will absorb the water.
- In a heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ½ cup of water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture up to a boil, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and do not stir the syrup any more as it is heating.
- Being careful to agitate the pot as little as possible, attach the candy thermometer to the pot and continue to boil the syrup until it reaches 240°F. Be attentive towards the end because you do not want to overheat the syrup.
- When the syrup reaches 240°F carefully remove the pot from the heat. Turn the mixer on low speed, and carefully pour the hot syrup into the bowl of gelatin. Increase the speed to high and beat for 8 minutes. With the machine still running on high, add the vanilla. Continue whipping as the marshmallow becomes light and fluffy. After 5 to 7 minutes, the mixture will be stiff and luke warm. Stop the mixer and carefully scrape the marshmallow into the prepared pan. Using a spatula that has been sprayed with cooking spray, smooth the top of the marshmallow. Let cool for at least 5 hours, uncovered.
- To cut the marshmallows, sprinkle a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar on a cutting board. Turn the marshmallows out of the pan onto the cutting board. Sprinkle the top and sides with more confectioners’ sugar. Spray a large chef’s knife with cooking spray and carefully cut the marshmallows into cubes. This is very sticky business. Use plenty of confectioners’ sugar on your hands and on the marshmallows to help you fight the stickiness.
The marshmallows will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 to 6 days.