DIY Hot Cocoa Mix & Marshmallows

Can you believe that it’s almost Christmas? Where has the time gone?! Usually I’m pretty on top of the holidays and try to get most of my shopping done early, but this month has been so busy that I’m scrambling to get gifts together. If you’re like me, I might be able to help. I have a quick homemade gift that’s great for friends, co-workers, teachers, or anyone with a sweet tooth on your shopping list.

This homemade hot cocoa mix that is super easy – just stir together all the ingredients, portion it into bags and make some labels. That’s it! I got some holiday mailing labels on sale at Target and used them for these labels instead.

The hot cocoa this DIY mix makes is really creamy and rich and not too sweet, unlike most store-bought hot cocoa mixes. I tried making it with water, but I really recommend using milk instead. Even though the mix has dry milk powder in it, mixing with water just isn’t as good. Making it with warm milk is unbelievably creamy and satisfying.

The homemade marshmallows are a little more involved than the homemade hot cocoa mix, but oh so fluffy and delicious if you have the time and equipment to make them. I really wanted to make peppermint marshmallows (you know how much I love peppermint and chocolate together), but I wasn’t sure how the people on my list felt about peppermint. Not every loves it as much as me, I know. Something to try next time!

If you’ve never had homemade marshmallow, it’s much different than what you get at the store. It’s very fluffy, soft, and chewy. Plus, you can make any size and shape that you’d like. I made extra big marshmallows for fun.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year!

{More DIY gift ideas: Cookie mixchai tea mix,  Irish cream, or make a rainbow out of melted crayons}

DIY Hot Cocoa Mix

Yield: 18 servings


  • 3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together until well blended.
  2. If there are lumps, run small batches of mix in food processor blender until smooth.
  3. Portion into jars or bags and attach directions seen below.


Directions: Place 1/3 cup of hot cocoa mix in mug. Add 1 cup of hot milk and stir until combined.


DIY Marshmallows

Adapted from Alton Brown


  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Lightly coat a 9″x13″ pan with nonstick spray. Combine powdered sugar with cornstarch and coat the pan with the mixture. Reserve the extra for later.
  2. Place gelatin and 1/2 cup of the water into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Uncover, add a candy thermometer to the pan, and continue to cook until it reaches 240°F (around 7-8 minutes).
  5. When it reaches 240, remove from heat and turn the stand mixer to low speed. While it’s running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin.
  6. Increase the speed to high and mix until it becomes very thick and lukewarm (around 12-15 minutes).
  7. Add vanilla during the last minute of mixing.
  8. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Use a lightly oiled spatula to spread it evenly. Use some of the remaining powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover the top (reserve what remains for later).
  9. Let the marshmallows sit, uncovered, for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  10. Use a sharp knife or pizza slicer dusted with powdered sugar mixture to cut marshmallows into squares. Dust each sticky side of the marshmallow with the remaining powdered sugar mixture.
  11. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

8 Comments on DIY Hot Cocoa Mix & Marshmallows

  1. Megan
    December 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm (10 years ago)

    I made the mix tonight, and tested it out before packaging it all up. It’s very good, not nearly as sweet as the store-bought stuff. I would guess that some people would want to sweeten it up a little bit. But overall very good. Might add some espresso powder to some of it if I make it again next year.

  2. magic johnson
    April 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm (9 years ago)

    Yes! Finally someone writes about hottest gift ideas.

  3. Cynthia Gosselin
    June 4, 2013 at 6:31 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi, I’m starting out as a fellow blogger, and just made a batch of these marshmallows, with the exception that I added a twist. I used Strawberry gelatin in one batch and orange in another batch to give my own color and flavoring a unique twist. I will be posting these very soon on my blog, as well as link back to this original recipe! These smell and look amazing so far!!!

  4. Holly
    January 31, 2014 at 6:29 pm (8 years ago)

    I made the marshmallows with Bailey’s instead of water – they turned out amazing!! Great in hot cocoa or for an “adult” s’more.


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