The three month stretch from December to February is essentially a sugar coma. We splurge in December, make good intentions in January and then fold to our sugar cravings in February. The little treats and nom-noms that are so temptingly set out on tables and corners of desks call our names like the sirens from Homer’s “The Odyssey.” I don’t mind giving in to the dessert desire, particularly when I can make the treats myself. Covering marshmallows with chocolate (that’s already mixed with marshmallow fluff) reminded me of Calvin and Hobbes’ chocolate frosted sugar bomb cereal.
This winter, my mom scrounged up one of her favorite childhood recipes from the holidays to recreate in her adult kitchen. As I’ve written before, my mom and grandma both grew up with a mixing bowl in their hands. Many of their memories are tied to the meals they’ve created for their family (my mom can recount with great detail the dishes she whipped up for my papa when Grandma was in the hospital after giving birth to my aunt. Probably because she wrote it all out in a letter to her mom, even admitting that the casserole was slightly burned. Brave woman).
The nostalgia that’s served up next to our long-loved childhood recipes is a complimentary side dish. The emotions and atmosphere can have a lingering taste from childhood to adulthood. Research backs this up. A 2017 study from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences established that the good feelings you build between food and family in your childhood can lay the foundation for future coping skills. Family dinners for the win!
The marshmallow candy balls that we created one winter evening are a lovely addition to any hot chocolate or dessert display. You can easily customize them to a special holiday gathering with various toppings. Most importantly, make sure you have loved ones around to make and share them with.
Marshmallow Candy Balls
3 small packages of chocolate chips (name brand is best)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 jar of marshmallow fluff
Bag of large marshmallows
Using a double-boiler filled with hot water, slowly melt the chocolate chips until shiny and smooth and you’re starting to contemplate a career at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Then, add the sweetened condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Next, stir in the marshmallow fluff. If desired, you may also add some nuts, such as pecans.
Carefully dip the large marshmallows into the melted chocolate. The mixture is HOT, so please avoid burning off your fingertips like I did. Plus side – I no longer have fingerprints and can pursue my dream of a life in crime. You may need to rewarm the chocolate several times.
Place each chocolate covered marshmallow on wax paper until they are set, which may take 24 hours.When the chocolate is still wet, you may sprinkle with chopped nuts, colored sugar or other decorative add-ins. Store in a cool place while the chocolate hardens.