Cozy Up This Winter with a Warm “Hug in a Mug”
I was just talking to a friend about home much my girls love marshmallows and marshmallow fluff but how horrible it has got to be for you… who even KNOWS what is in those little crunchy things that come in instant cocoa?
Then McCormick Kitchens sent this information about the “hug in a mug” -themed desserts perfect for coming together after a day outside in a winter wonderland.
Cold Days Call for Hot Chocolate
Instead of heading to Starbucks on those frozen snow days, stay home and make your own version of your favorite drink in your special snowman mugs instead. Add new flavor variations to a traditional chocolaty base or to your latte’ to elevate your cup of comfort.
Vanilla Cinnamon Hot Cocoa
“What I love about these desserts is that they’re fun and easy to make, whether you’re whipping up a quick snack for the kids or treating yourself by cozying up on the couch with a little indulgence,” said Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens. “A ‘hug in a mug’ can come in many forms, from cookies and cakes to hot drinks topped with homemade marshmallows or flavored whipped cream. Whichever you choose, these sweet, individual delights will chase your winter blues away.”
What I loved was that I could decide for myself just how much of what went into my marshmallows and my hot cocoa or latte’.
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Hot Chocolate with Coconut Milk
Serves 4: Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- 1 cup Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 packets instant hot cocoa mix (or Via instant coffee)
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (Or if you are like me and buy this every Thanksgiving then lose it and have to buy more every year because you can never use that much? Make your own!
Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon ( or 2 drops of cinnamon essential oil)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger (1 drop of ginger essential oil)
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves (1 drop of clove essential oil)
Mix the spices together in a small bowl and take a little whiff. (Smells like heaven, right?) If one of those doesn’t make you happy skip it and you’ll have your own custom blend. I leave out the allspice & cloves because I never use those either. Store the mixture in a clean small jar or spice container.
Heat coconut milk and water in small saucepan until hot (not boiling). Remove from heat.
Stir in hot cocoa mix and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Serve immediately. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Cocoa Recipe above (or instant) – Add 1 drop per cup of Peppermint Young Living Essential Oils. Top with the Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows below. YUM YUM!
Mexican Hot Chocolate (serves 4)
Serving Size: 1 cup
- 4 cups whole milk *
- 1 McCormick Gourmet™ Cinnamon Sticks or 2 drops of cinnamon essential oil
- 1 McCormick Gourmet™ Vanilla Beans, Madagascar, split in half lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Chile Pepper, Ancho
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Place milk, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and ancho chile pepper in medium saucepan.
- Bring just to boil on medium heat. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.
- Stir in chocolates and sugar with wire whisk until melted and mixture is slightly frothy.
- Serve with whipped cream and grated chocolate, if desired.
Red Velvet Hot Chocolate (serves 4)
- 4 cups whole milk*
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 10 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons Red Food Color
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Whipped Cream for on top:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Hot Chocolate, place milk and granulated sugar in medium saucepan. Bring to simmer on medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
- Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate with wire whisk until melted. Stir in food color and vanilla. Pour into serving cups. Serve with marshmallows and Vanilla Whipped Cream, if desired.
- For the Vanilla Whipped Cream, beat heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Don’t forget the whipped cream! Add an extra helping of flavor to hot desserts and beverages with a dollop of Vanilla or Candy Cane whipped cream. Skip the spoon and use Cinnamon Sticks as a stirrer – they’re the perfect length for mugs.
*Non-fat Milk, Soy Milk or Almond Milk can be substituted for whole milk.
Add a little extra something to your warm beverage with flavorful homemade marshmallows. For a fun, kid-friendly snow day activity, create pillowy homemade marshmallows in fun flavors. It will have to be a special occasion to make these ooey gooey treats but it will be worth it when you taste them!
Peppermint Homemade Marshmallows
Makes 24 Marshmallows
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered confectioners’ sugar, for coating
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Pure Peppermint Extract (or 2 drops YL Peppermint Essential Oil)
- 15 to 20 drops McCormick® Green Food Color (optional)
- Spray 9-inch square baking dish with no stick cooking spray then coat with some of the confectioners’ sugar. Set aside. Microwave 1/2 cup of the water, granulated sugar and corn syrup in medium microwavable bowl on HIGH 7 minutes. Stir to dissolve sugar. Microwave on HIGH 5 minutes longer. (Mixture will have a slight yellow tint.) Carefully remove hot bowl from microwave.
- Meanwhile, place remaining 1/2 cup water in mixer bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 5 minutes. Gradually beat in hot syrup mixture with a whisk attachment on medium-low speed. Beat 8 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high. Beat 10 to 12 minutes longer or until mixture is fluffy, shiny and at least tripled in volume. Beat in extracts.
- Spread marshmallow mixture in prepared pan. Smooth top with a spatula. Immediately drop food color over top; swirl with a toothpick. Sift about 2 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar over top. Let stand at room temperature overnight or refrigerate at least 3 hours.
- Place remaining confectioners’ sugar in large bowl. Cut marshmallows into 1 1/2-inch squares. Add marshmallows in batches to confectioners’ sugar; toss to coat well. Shake off excess. Store marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
This Very Vanilla Marshmallow Recipe is a little simpler and would go with any of your favorite hot cocoa recipes.
There “Sweet Treats in a Mug” to match the hot cocoa treats above look so yummy!
These handheld desserts can be made in the oven or microwave and tailored to please every palate. Simply add peppermint or raspberry extract to transform a fudgy brownie base or choose favorite candy pieces to personalize an oven-baked blondie flavored with cinnamon and vanilla extract. Make these extra special treats to enjoy on Valentine’s Day, or any other day this winter.
- Red Velvet Mug Cake – The signature elements of red velvet cake – red color and chocolate flavor – in an easy microwavable recipe, ideal for sharing your love in a mug.
- Fudgy Mug Brownie – These decadent brownies are quickly made in the microwave. Add an extract like peppermint or raspberry for a twist on the classic brownie flavor.
- Candy Bar Mug Blondie – Let the kids add their favorite chopped-up candy bar to a rich blondie batter. The melted candy combined with pure vanilla extract results in a warm, ooey-gooey treat.
- Mexican Hot Chocolate “Cup” Cakes with Cocoa Whipped Cream – Flavored with cinnamon and cocoa powder, these little cakes get a hint of heat from ancho chile pepper.
- Cocoa Almond Marshmallow Recipe
For more winter snow day ideas and Valentine’s Day recipes from McCormick, visit www.McCormick.com or www.AmericanHomemade.