Suitable for sweetening the disposition of the mouse king’s army, these yummy peppermint batons are a crowd pleaser. They also do double duty as a stir stick for hot chocolate or coffee. For this recipe, we took inspiration from the Mouse King in the Land of Sweets from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. To amuse children à la Herr Drosselmeyer, add candy eyeballs to turn the single mallow version into a minty mouse.
This recipe can be made vegan with the substitution of vegan marshmallows, made with seaweed carrageenan instead of gelatin. If marshmallows aren’t your cup of tea, try substituting your favorite creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies for the marshmallows.
Ingredients for Peppermint Batons aka Minty Mallow Mice
2 bars (8 oz) semi-sweet baker’s chocolate (chocolate chips work, too)
1 bag of regular size marshmallows
1 box of peppermint candy canes (starlight mints work as well)
1 box wooden bamboo skewers or dense paper cake pop sticks
- Pulverize the candy canes. This can easily be done using a food processor, or, for larger peppermint chunks, can be done using your grandfather’s cocktail mallet from the 1950s and a tea towel. If following this route, safety goggles are recommended. A mess will be generated. Accept it now.
- Carefully slide your marshmallows onto your skewers. Pro tip: If making both regular and vegan options, we recommend marking the bottom of the sticks or using a number system to designate. For example, sticks with three marshmallows are regular, and sticks with a single marshmallow are vegan.
- This next step is tricky, and should be done by a grown up. I myself am a grownup, but I asked my aunt to do this step for me since she’s even more of a grownup. She has a graduate degree, you know. She’s also our editor. Hi Editor! Alright, enough noodling, Elizabeth.
- Onto the step: Temper your chocolate. Prepare a double boiler with hot water that isn’t yet boiling. Place ⅔ of the chocolate, broken into pieces, into the boiler. Keep a close eye on it. It can’t get too hot, it needs to stay under 120 degrees F. Stir it until it is melted and smooth. Take it off the double boiler and add the remaining third of the chocolate, stirring until it’s melted and fully blended. You now have about five minutes to coat the marshmallows in the chocolate before it hardens, make haste.
- Once your chocolate has been suitably melted, coat each skewered marshmallow in a layer of chocolate, using a rubber spatula to assist, and stand each up to briefly set (a minute or two) in a mug or glass.
- Once lightly set, sprinkle a layer of crushed peppermint onto each marshmallow, one stick at a time. We recommend sprinkling first, then rolling each stick in the dish of crushed peppermint.
- Chill in the fridge for one hour to set.
- (At this point, maybe help clean up the mess you’ve just made.)
The Guldimann Family’s Old Fashioned Hot Chocolate Recipe
The smell of homemade hot chocolate and fresh ground nutmeg instantly evokes the Christmases of childhood. In our house, hot chocolate always meant the homemade variety, not the kind that comes in a packet. It’s a simple recipe, perfect for the holidays, and it can be adjusted to have less sugar, more cocoa, or a variety of other flavors, from peppermint to almond. This recipe is easily adapted for vegans: simply substitute a milk alternative—we like oat milk—and use coconut cream in place of whipping cream. A spoonful of vegan ice cream is nice, too,
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1/2 c. boiling water (or black coffee)
1/2-2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 1/2 c. milk or milk alternative
1/2 c. whipping cream or coconut cream
1 t. vanilla (or substitute almond extract, or a drop of peppermint)
A pinch of salt.
A dusting of cinnamon and or nutmeg
Whip the cream or coconut cream, adding a little of the sugar, to taste. Set aside.
Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a saucepan, add the boiling water, a little at a time, stirring or whisking until smooth. Add the milk or milk alternative, pouring slowly and whisking to ensure the milk combines smoothly with the chocolate. Heat on medium until steaming hot, but do not boil. Add the vanilla before removing from the stove.
Pour into four cups. Top with whipped cream and a dusting of spices. We always used fresh ground nutmeg when I was a child.
Don’t forget to try one of Elizabeth’s Minty Mallow Mice as an accompaniment. Grownups may enjoy adding a tot of kirsch, rum, or bourbon, especially after cleaning up the mess their niece made in the kitchen making those minty mice. Mind you, it was nothing compared to the great bûche de noël chocolate mousse explosion of 1985, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate all over everything. At least it’s not on the ceiling this time.