Good friends, good food, crock pot hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows – what a great way to ring in the new year! I also made a (gasp) chicken in the crock pot using the winter BBQ recipe from my new Southern Cooking recipe book, another Christmas gift I love (my kids think it’s weird that I sit in the living room and read a cookbook). For me, butchering a whole chicken is like Riley’s theory of tomatoes and ketchup – it’s like revenge on chickens. It was a local farm-raised bird, and I will admit it wasn’t bad slathered in spices and sauce. Unlike good beef, which of course has an excellent flavor all on its own.
The highlight of the day were the homemade marshmallows, a recipe I finally got brave enough to try this year. It is actually quite simple and is one I will definitely make again. I used the one from Taste of Home (big fan). It did not take me 15 minutes for them to whip up; it took about 7-8 with the KitchenAid mixer. This is a lot like making White Mountain frosting; you’r just using gelatin instead of egg whites. Like the meat thermometer for a good prime rib, the candy thermometer is not optional unless you enjoy throwing away large batches of ingredients. These were so much fun to decorate – there is really no limit to the many coatings and toppings you can use. I just filled several small dishes with sprinkles, colored sugars, cocoa, and crushed candies and let the kids decorate to their heart’s content. The ones covered in crushed candy cane were a big hit. I also had some blue tinted white chocolate candy coating left over from a cake pops project that we drizzled on a few and then topped with sprinkles.
These were very tasty floating in a hot cup of crock pot hot cocoa – pour a can of sweetened condensed milk (heaven in a can) into a 3 quart slow cooker, add 7 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup of dry baking cocoa, and 1 1/2 tsps good vanilla, stir, and set on low for 4 hours or until a bunch of short people covered in snow rush your front door. For the big people, a nice snort of peppermint schnapps is the perfect finishing touch.
Wishing you lots of hot cocoa and gooey marshmallows in 2013!