[Photograph: Lucy Baker]

Since December is the start of hot chocolate season, now seemed like the perfect time to tackle an Edible DIY project I've been thinking about for a while: homemade marshmallows. But not just any marshmallows: chocolate marshmallows boozed up with peppermint schnapps.

When I reviewed the Barefoot Contessa's marshmallow mix last year, many Serious Eaters commented on how easy it was to make them from scratch. I honestly had no idea. Until then, I thought marshmallows was one of those foods that could only come from a factory production line, like phyllo dough. (Ok, you can make phyllo dough, too, but really only if you're a glutton for punishment!)

But it turns out that marshmallows really are quite simple. For my basic recipe, I turned to Gourmet. Then I tinkered with it by adding a mixture of Valrhona cocoa powder and hot water, and swapping the teaspoon of vanilla extract for a tablespoon of peppermint schnapps.

You have to be patient when beating your marshmallow mixture, especially if all you have is a handheld electric mixer and not a stand mixer. It can take more than 10 minutes to whip into creamy, thick, glossy fluff. But it's not hard. I set a kitchen timer and paged through a magazine with one hand.

Once poured into the pan, the marshmallow mixture needs to set for several hours. I suggest leaving it uncovered on the counter overnight. If you want to cover yours, just make sure the plastic wrap or aluminum foil doesn't touch the surface of the marshmallows. It will stick and stick hard. Pulling it off is about as painful as pulling off a really stubborn Band-Aid.

This recipe makes 40 to 50 jumbo-sized marshmallows, perfect for plunking in a hot mug of cocoa. They will keep for up to a week, stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Package them in bags of 10 and give them as holiday gifts along with your favorite hot chocolate mix.


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