Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Fun with Peeps...Featuring Gingerbread White Hot Cocoa #PEEPSONALITY

I'm a huge fan of marshmallow Peeps from way back...especially their fun seasonal flavors and shapes! Peeps started as a fun Easter basket treat when I was a kid, but now they make fun seasonal goodies all year long. Their line of Christmas marshmallow Peeps is out now...with fun flavors like peppermint, gingerbread, chocolate mousse, and sugar cookie. They can certainly be enjoyed as a fun treat straight from the package, but they're also a really easy way to add a bit of fun holiday decor to your seasonal food and beverages. I recently received a box containing a wide variety of fun holiday-themed marshmallow Peeps, and I decided to feature the whimsical gingerbread men variety in a fun holiday drink!

My Gingerbread Hot White Cocoa features a trio of warm spices normally found in gingerbread. To make this decadent treat extra fun, each mug of cocoa is served garnished with an easy-to-make gingerbread man marshmallow Peep stirrer. It's a win-win: everyone gets to enjoy a comforting mug of white chocolate-infused cocoa...and they get to enjoy a tasty gingerbread marshmallow Peep too. This white cocoa is ready to drink in about 20 minutes. While the cocoa is heating on the stovetop, you have a pocket of time to make the adorable Peep stirrers. Let me show you how easy it is!
Gingerbread Hot White Cocoa
a Weekend Gourmet Original
Ingredients (makes 3-4 mugs of cocoa):
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Whipped cream for garnish
For the gingerbread man marshmallow Peep stirrers:
  • 3-4 gingerbread man marshmallow Peeps
  • 3-4 drinking straws -- preferably with red and white stripes, if you can find them
Step 1: Add the milk, half and half, white chocolate, brown sugar, and vanilla to a medium non-stick saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the white chocolate and brown sugar have melted into the milk mixture. Whisk every few minutes to ensure nothing sticks and the mixture is very smooth. Add the spices to the warm cocoa.
Step 2: Use a whisk to ensure the spices incorporate into the cocoa instead of simply floating on top. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 5 minutes -- this allows the flavor of the spices to infuse into the cocoa.
Step 3: Use a ladle to transfer the warm cocoa into 3-4 holiday mugs. To make the marshmallow Peeps stirrer: insert one end of the straw into the bottom of each gingerbread man marshmallow Peep -- go slow so you don't stretch out the Peep too much. Top the cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon. Insert the straw end of each stirrer into each mug of cocoa. 
[NOTE: Depending on the depth of your mug and the length of your straw, you may need to cut the straw so the Peep rests just above the whipped cream -- with a bit of the straw showing!]

This hot white cocoa is decadently good...the white chocolate provides a rich creaminess, and the brown sugar and vanilla adds a slight caramel flavor in the background. The combination of warm spices is so comforting...with a little kick from the ginger. I especially enjoyed how the flavors in the cocoa combined with the spiced sugar coating on the cute gingerbread man marshmallow Peeps! This cocoa is a fun little treat that kids of all ages will love. I hope you make a batch soon for a pre-Christmas break from all the last-minute preparations.

Disclosure: Peeps sent me a package of their seasonal holiday products to facilitate this feature. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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