Parisian Hot Chocolate with Cocoa

Adapted from cocoa made at the Angelina Tea Salon in Paris, which combines cocoa powder and melted chocolate for an intensely chocolate beverage. For a truly decadent treat, top with  marshmallows; if you are up to it, click here for recipes for  homemade marshmallows.

2 cups milk, preferably 2%
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed
  cocoa powder
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet
  chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk, cream and cocoa powder. Heat, stirring constantly, until the cocoa is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat; add the chocolate, and set aside until the chocolate has melted, about 1 minute. Whisk the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. (Don't let the mixture reach a simmer -- it will scorch).

  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and pulse until frothy on top. Pour into individual mugs and serve immediately. Top with homemade marshmallows!

This fusion of flavors is based on the ingenious creation of the Angelina Tea Salon in Paris, which combines cocoa powder and melted chocolate for an intensely chocolate beverage. For a truly decadent treat, top with homemade marshmallows (recipe follows)

Homemade Marshmallows

Vegetable shortening
Confectioner's sugar
2 1/2 packages (2 T. plus 1 1/2 t.)
  unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or substitute lemon, almond, rum or peppermint or others)

  Lightly grease a 13x9x2 inch metal pan with shortening and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Tap out excess sugar.

  Place the gelatin in a large bowl and add the cold water. let the gelatin sit for about 5 minutes.

  In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the hot water, sugar and corn syrup and cook, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and cook without stirring until the mixture comes to a boil and threads; it should register 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (the soft-ball stage.)

  Stir the gelatin mixture into the sugar mixture. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the mixture until it triples in volume, about eight minutes. Set aside.

  In a medium bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites and vanilla (or other flavoring) into the gelatin mixture until just incorporated. If you wish, you may also add food coloring.

  Transfer the marshmallow mixture to the prepared pan, dust the surface with confectioner's sugar until it is lightly coated and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 3 hours.

  To serve, use a sharp knife to cut around the edges of the pan. The bottom of the confection will be sticky. Cut the marshmallow slab into 1" squares -- or other shapes as desired, then gently ease the pieces from the pan and toss into a bowl of confectioner's sugar. This may be done in several batches. Transfer to a colander and toss again to remove excess sugar.

  To store, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to one week.

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