One of the best things Starbucks ever did for me was introduce me to the hot peppermint mocha a few years back. Other than that, thin mints were the only chocolate-peppermint dream team I knew, and they were best frozen. So thanks, Starbucks, for showing me the way to how great that combo works hot. One of my favorite cold weather treats now is hot cocoa (home made or not) with peppermint marshmallows. Toss a couple in and let them melt a bit to give your cocoa a nice minty twist and enjoy.
adapted from the very awesome Alton Brown
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 C corn starch
1/2 C powdered (10x) sugar
red food coloring
Special equipment: candy thermometer
In the bowl of a stand mixer (that has a whisk attachment), pour 1/2 C ice water and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over it.
In a small saucepan, stir together 1/2 C ice water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Turn stove to medium high heat, cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and clip the candy thermometer to the side. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat.
Turn mixer on low and slowly stream in the hot sugar mix. Once it's all in, increase the speed to highest setting and let whip for 12 minutes. Turn down/off and add the extracts, then whip again at highest speed for another 1-2 minutes.
While it's running, combine the corn starch and powdered (10x) sugar. Prepare a 9x13 baking pan: spray with nonstick spray and dump in enough of the corn starch/10x sugar mix to coat evenly. Save the excess.
When the marshmallow is done whipping, spray a spatula as necessary and use it to pour into the baking dish and even out the top. If you want the red swirls like I have, grab a toothpick or skewer and dip into food coloring and swirl it into the marshmallow before evening out the top. Cover with more of the corn starch/10x sugar mix and let sit at least 4 hours or overnight.
When it's ready to cut, turn out onto a big cutting board. Use a sprayed pizza wheel or a giant knife to cut into 1" wide strips (pictured above), then cut again into cubes. Toss in corn starch/10x sugar mix.
Makes about 9 dozen 1" marshmallows.
Store in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.