I don’t know how it happens, and every year I swear I won’t let it happen again, but every single December, I find myself swamped in the first few weeks of December and then that week before Christmas, everything stops–my kids are home from school, holiday programs are over, treats have been made and delivered, shopping is done, presents have been wrapped, and I’m not totally sure what to do with myself (or my kids).

These little treats are a great way to keep yourself and your kids busy during those stir-crazy days at home! And if you haven’t given your neighbor/co-worker/teacher gifts yet, these are adorable and totally different from that standard plate of cookies.

This isn’t really a recipe, but I’ll include lots of ideas for different combinations. You’ll definitely need big marshmallows (I loved Kraft marshmallows–they’re softer and have a more uniform shape). It’s really fun to mix up the flavors–here, I used regular marshmallows as well as strawberry. I was hoping to use those new caramel swirl marshmallows, but I couldn’t find them (I really should’ve saved a few from those two bags we hot chocolate-d our way through during the last few weeks!) You’ll also need sucker sticks (it doesn’t matter what length), something to dip the marshmallows in (I used semi-sweet chocolate and almond bark, but you could also use peanut butter chips, mint chips, candy melts, etc.)

and, if you want, stuff to decorate the marshmallows with (like nuts, graham cracker or Oreo crumbs, crushed candy canes, coconut, sprinkles, sanding sugar, etc.) You might also want cellophane treat bags and ribbons to individually wrap the pops and, if you want to give these as a gift, small buckets (I got these at Target in the $1 section which, by the way, is the total bane of my budget’s existence), floral foam, and paper shreds or other filler.

Start by melting your coating in the microwave. Honestly, the chocolate and white chocolate bark you’ll find in the baking section as well as candy melts are probably your best bet texture-wise. I used chocolate chips mixed with a little shortening and it worked well, but the white chocolate bark went on much smoother and more lightly than the chocolate did.

Insert a sucker stick into the bottom of each marshmallow.

Dip the marshmallow into the coating.

When the marshmallow has been coated, gently tap the stick against the side of the bowl to remove the excess and then, if necessary, twirl the pop back and forth between your hands (upside down) so the remaining excess goes back into the bowl.

Next, roll, sprinkle, or dip your marshmallow into your desired toppings. After they’ve been dipped and decorated the way you want, just pop the stick into some floral foam so the pops can firm up before you wrap them. Check out some of these marshmallows I made with my kids this afternoon after school:

S’mores: Regular marshmallow, dipped in chocolate, rolled in graham cracker crumbs.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry: Strawberry marshmallow, chocolate coating, then I dipped the top in Christmas sprinkles for decoration.

Boston Cream Pie: Regular marshmallow, coated in white chocolate, then the top dipped in semi-sweet chocolate.

Chocolate-Peppermint: Regular marshmallow, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate, then rolled in crushed candy canes.

Still need some inspiration?

Snowball: Regular marshmallow dipped in white chocolate and rolled in coconut.

Macaroon: Regular marshmallow dipped in semi-sweet chocolate and rolled in coconut.
White Christmas: Regular marshmallow dipped in white chocolate and rolled in crushed candy canes.
Strawberries and Cream: Strawberry marshmallow dipped in white chocolate.
Strawberry Colada: Strawberry marshmallow dipped in white chocolate and rolled in coconut.
Salted Caramel: Caramel swirl marshmallow dipped in chocolate with a very light sprinkling of kosher or sea salt.
Caramel Frappe: Caramel swirl marshmallow dipped in white chocolate.

These are SO easy and your kids will love making them! The only rule (besides the absolute rule that all mistakes must be eaten) is that if you’re dipping in two different coats (like the Boston Cream Pie), the first layer must be completely solid before dipping in the second coat. You may want to clear some space in the refrigerator or freezer to make the process go faster; they’ll only need 5-10 minutes to chill out before they’re ready to be dipped again.

So what do you do with them? Well, you can eat them right off the stick. You can also drop them into one of these amazing hot chocolates (or this one). They also make great gifts–check out the dollar section of Target for these little buckets and then cut some floral foam to fit into the bucket. Top the foam with some decorative shredded paper. After the marshmallows have hardened, you can place them into small cellophane treat bags and tie them with ribbons and then insert the sticks into the foam

for a great holiday gift for your kids teachers and friends (or heck, your teachers/friends/bosses/co-workers)

And if you want to get fancy- try making your own marshmallows!  Click here for a tutorial.

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