It's a really weird thing to be craving something savory while needing to write about something sweet. All I really want right now is pizza. With sausage and giardiniera and mushrooms. Someone bring me a pizza, please. In unrelated news, has anyone else noticed the slew of terrible-looking movies coming out in the near future?
Ok, but let's talk about this hot chocolate. It's pretty much the ultimate dessert drink (and it's totally spike-able, if you feel like it). You know those Girl Scout cookies called Samoas? They are SO. GOOD. This is sort of like the hot chocolate reincarnation of those cookies. There's dark chocolate, there's slightly salty caramel, and there's coconut. How can you go wrong? All you need is a shortbread cookie on the side. If you're a coconut-phobe (I know, there are a lot of you), you could easily do this without the coconut and just have Caramel Hot Chocolate with regular marshmallows instead. No big.
Salted Caramel + Coconut Hot Chocolate
salted caramel sauce (recipe below)
prepared hot cocoa mix (recipe here)
coconut marshmallows (recipe below)
- Drizzle some caramel sauce in the bottom of each mug.
- Prepare desired quantity of hot chocolate using instructions and cocoa mix from this recipe.
- Add prepared cocoa to mugs.
- Toast a marshmallow square. Add to hot chocolate.
- Drizzle with more salted caramel sauce and melted chocolate.
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
1 cup powdered sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites (you can use meringue powder here)
1/2 TB vanilla extract
1/2 TB coconut extract
- Oil bottom and sides of a square (8x8 or 9x9) metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with powdered sugar.
- Scatter toasted coconut evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- In bowl of a standing electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand for 10 minutes to soften.
- In a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved.
- Increase heat to medium-high and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F. Do not walk away. Burnt sugar is a nightmare, and this will happen faster than you think.
- Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture into stand mixer bowl over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
- With standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume.
- Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks.
- Beat whites, coconut extract and vanilla extract into sugar mixture until just combined.
- Pour mixture into baking pan.
- Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top.
- Set aside until marshmallows are set (4 hours or more -- overnight is fine too!) If i'm leaving them overnight, I usually cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap.
- Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board.
- Trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into desired shapes/sizes.
- Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp salt
- Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
- Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful -- the caramel will bubble up kind of violently when the butter is added.
- Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while whisking. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will bubble and/or splatter when added.
- Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Allow to cool.
- Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for 30-45 seconds in the microwave before using.