A couple of weeks ago I shared that I am expecting a baby on my personal blog. Come April, I am going to be a real Scratch Mommy…not just a proud chicken mom!
While I am completely overjoyed and loving this time (particularly since I am now well into my second trimester…), there are a few things that I do miss and the fact that it’s fall doesn’t really help.
I am really missing coffee on cool fall mornings. I am a coffee girl and have been for years. I blame it on the fact that I spent much of my childhood at an ice rink as a competitive figure skater.
In fact, a frequent conversation at my house is “Could we go totally locavore?” Meaning we would only eat food that is produced locally. I often find myself saying that we probably could so long as I could get a hall pass for just a few things. Coffee is one of them.
Wine is another.
I couldn’t last without champagne for special occasions and my husband and I love Chianti region wines after our trip to Italy this summer. On cold nights, a glass of bold red wine has been known to keep me warm.
But, thanks to the coming bundle of joy, I have had to find new libations. And, while pelligrino is Italian, it’s not the same.
The final item on my locavore hall pass list is chocolate.
Fortunately for pregnant me and my ever growing sweet tooth, chocolate (in moderation) is a-okay when pregnant.
So, to fulfill the need for something to drink in order to warm up on chilly mornings and cool, fall evenings I have reverted back to my childhood ways become a big fan of hot chocolate.
Making food and drinks from scratch has been a part of my life for years but now that I am expecting I am even more in tune with the things I am putting into my body. Because I really have not had much hot chocolate since I was pretty young, packaged, commercial mixes have never been on my #lifefromscratch radar.
In order to learn, I checked out a popular brand’s label when at the store. I casually flipped the box around only to find all sorts of poor and processed ingredients listed like corn syrup (most likely GMO), partially hydrogenated oils (quite possibly the worst fat you could consume), artificial flavors, and tons and tons of refined sugar.
I knew I could do far better in my own kitchen, controlling the hot cocoa ingredients using basic pantry staples and not losing too much of the convince factor.
Hot chocolate made from scratch has an incredibly rich and decadent taste that a packaged mix just can’t even compete with. One sip into this cocoa, I feel warm, cozy and totally forget about lattes and Tuscany.
Making hot chocolate also lets you play with the flavors using your favorite natural sweeteners and spices. I put an “autumnal” spin on this cocoa using maple syrup as the sweetener, which, of course, inspired me to make matching homemade maple syrup marshmallows!
While the marshmallows are a little more hand’s on, they are super fun to make and, once cool, a kid could have a ball using cookie cutters to create special shapes to add to their warm cocoa.
- ¼ cup organic, raw cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 4 cups whole milk (perhaps raw milk)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (DIY it OR buy organic vanilla extract)
- Combine cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium sized sauce pan.
- Add syrup and water, stir to combine.
- Over medium-high heat, warm while stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil (about two minutes).
- Add the milk while stirring and warm, but do not let mixture come to a boil.
- Once warm, remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
- Grease and dust a large jelly roll pan with non-GMO cornstarch or arrowroot flour.
- Pour cool water in a medium bowl or stand mixer bowl and top with gelatin.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine maple syrup and salt and heat to 240 degrees over medium-high heat. Be certain that syrup does not boil over.
- Once at 240 degrees, remove from heat.
- Using either a stand mixer or hand mixer on low, slowly add the warm syrup to gelatin mix by pouring it down the side of the bowl.
- Once combined, add vanilla and beat on high until mixture is fluffy and pulls from the sides of the bowl and sticks to the beaters. Be careful to not over mix.
- Pour marshmallows into prepped jelly roll pan, top with more cornstarch or arrowroot flour.
- Let marshmallows set and dry over night, then either cut with a knife or using cookie cutters.
- Store marshmallows in an air tight container and use more cornstarch or arrowroot powder as needed to prevent sticking.
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