It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Its time to deck those halls, shop at malls, find the perfect tree and celebrate with close family and friends. I love the Christmas season, but man oh man can it be stressful. However I have the perfect way to de-stress and still be festive at the same time. For me nothing is more soothing than listening to a classic crooner, and no one comes to mind more, especially during the holidays, than Bing Crosby. When I think of Bing Crosby there is only one song that comes to mind, ” White Christmas”.
White Christmas, written by Irving Berlin, has to be one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time. With its simple melody and word-painting lyrics, it warms my heart every-time and always takes me back to my childhood memories of being up north playing in the snow. The first public performance of the song was by Bing Crosby, on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941. Crosby’s “White Christmas” single has been credited with selling 50 million copies, the most by any release and therefore it is the biggest-selling single worldwide of all time. The Guinness Book of World Records 2009 Edition lists the song as a 100-million seller, encompassing all versions of the song, including albums. Crosby’s holiday collection Merry Christmas was first released as an LP in 1949, and has never been out-of-print since.
Click here to listen to a version of “White Christmas” featuring Bing Crosby and Michael Bublé.01 White Christmas
So with the days getting shorter and weather getting colder, I nestle into a comfy chair, admire my little christmas tree, and listen to old Bing do his thing, and let myself be transported to a snowy country side. As I sit listening to his rich, velvety voice I think to myself, a cup of hot cocoa would be the perfect treat to compliment my holiday stress routine.
It is the perfect holiday drink to warm your soul and to relax all those frazzled, worrisome thought of last minute gifts to buy. But, no cup of hot cocoa it complete without marshmallows and not just any marshmallows. I’m talking about homemade Vanilla Bean Marshmallows. They are supper easy to make and they also make a great gift. These marshmallows will have your Hot Cocoa looking like you’re a starista. They add just a dash of diva to every chocolatey cup.
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Cut the Vanilla Bean in half length wise then with the back of a knife scrap out all the little beans. Add both the vanilla bean and extract and mix thoroughly.
With a sieve, generously dust an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners’ sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners’ sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.
Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. The best tool for this sticky job is a pair of cooking shears, or just plain scissors with do fine. Dust them with more confectioners’ sugar.
For a nice gift idea package the marshmallows in nice clear plastic candy/cookie bags. The best place to find these is at Michael’s, The Christmas Tree Shop, or your local dollar store. Then tie up the bag with some nice festive ribbon and give it to someone you think needs a cocoa break. To make it even more special, pair it with a nice mug and a package of some of your gourmet hot cocoa mix. So sit back, relax, and drink up the sweet, rich, creamy deliciousness, and I’m not just talking about the cocoa.