Friday, December 16, 2011

Dairy Free Hot Cocoa W/Peppermint Marshmallows (GAPS, Paleo)

"Baby it's cold outside", and even if it's not (like here in Texas) you can still enjoy a nice warm cup of hot cocoa with a big huge marshmallow on top.

I remember my mother making different homemade hot cocoa mixes when I was younger. She would keep the mixes in tins, readily available to warm our freezing little bodies after a long day of snow ball fights and igloo building! My favorite flavor by far, was the peppermint hot cocoa!

This hot cocoa recipe is dairy free, using coconut milk and Organic Fair Trade Dagoba Cocoa. The peppermint flavor is brought in by a huge fluffy homemade peppermint marshmallow (made with honey not corn syrup). This hot cocoa might not be readily available in tins, but it is quick and easy to throw together...And the marshmallows? Well, they really are a breeze to make. I've even included  a 'marshmallow basics' video to help!

Dairy Free Hot Cocoa


1 can full fat coconut milk or milk of choice 
1 1 1/2 cups water (If using almond/cashew or homemade coconut milk, use all milk & no water)
4 Tbls organic cocoa (try the Dagoba brand)
1/3 honey, or to taste
1 Tbls  GF vanilla extract ( I like Nielsen Massey)

One batch Home Made Peppermint Marshmallow Recipe (Below, recipe can be halved)

Make marshmallows up to a day ahead of time. Store in an air tight container... after they have set out long enough to firm up and dry out just a bit.

Preparing the cocoa...

Over medium heat, combine all the the ingredients (except the marshmallows) in a medium sized sauce pan. While heating, whisk the  mixture till well combined. Continue to stir until the mixture just barely  breaks into a boil. 

To create a nice cream on the top, pour the hot cocoa into a large french press or milk frother. Pump the press a few times to create some foam. Pour into mugs, top with a peppermint marshmallow and enjoy! Makes about 4 8oz servings.

If you don't have a french press, you can pour the mixture between to sauce pans/pitchers a five or six times  times. I've done this before and it produces a pretty decent foam.

Peppermint Marshmallow Recipe
(GAP, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free)


1 cup  filtered water (split into half cups)
3 Tbls Grass fed beef gelatin
1 cup organic honey
1/2 tsp vanilla (or other) gluten free organic extract 
1/2 tsp peppermint extract(or more to taste.
1/4 tsp salt
Optional Arrowroot powder for coating and dusting


If you want the nice red swirls in your marshmallows, try using India Tree Natural Decorating Colors or just leave them nice and "pepperminty" white

Grease an 8×8(or larger) pan and line with parchment paper in both directions.  Leave some length to use as handles when removing your finished marshmallows. If using, dust the bottom & sides of the pan with arrowroot powder. This will help give the marshmallow a nice finish and help with any stickiness.

In your mixer bowl, add the gelatin with 1/2 cup of water. While the gelatin is softening, pour the other 1/2 cup of water into a small sauce pan along with the honey, vanilla and salt. Turn the burner to a medium/medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. 

Place a candy thermometer in the sauce pan and continue to boil the mixture until it reaches 242 degrees (the soft ball stage). This will take approx. 7-8 min depending on the size of pot you use and how high the heat is on your stove.  Immediately remove from the sauce pan from the heat.

Turn your standing mixer to low/med. Very slowly pour the honey mixture into the bowl combining it with the softened gelatin.  If needed stop the mixer and stir to make sure all the gelatin is mixed in. Turn the mixer to high and continue beating the mixtures until it becomes thick like marshmallow creme (about 7-10 min).  Add the extracts just before you are done mixing but make sure they have enough time to mix into the marshmallow creme.

Note: If you are using a hand mixer you may want to let the syrup cool down to around 230 degrees before adding to the mixture. It is much harder to pour slowly when trying to use a hand mixer and pour a the same time. Pouring the syrup slowly ensures that the syrup cools before it hits the gelatin. If it is too hot when it combines with the gelatin it can cause it to "break", which you will notice as you try to spread it in the pan.

Turn off the mixer and transfer the marshmallow creme to the prepared pan.  Smooth the top . 

Note: Remember, if using a coating (such as arrowroot/cocoa...) it should be added to the bottom of the pan first before transferring the marshmallow creme. Add more to the top of the marshmallow once spread and use as needed when cutting. 

If you are not using a coating then lightly grease your hands with oil and pat smooth. This will keep it from sticking to your fingers. Alternatively you can press it down with parchment paper, leaving it there till the marshmallows are completely set.

If you would like to do the red swirls, once the marshmallow is spread just add drops of coloring randomly to the marshmallow and make swirls with a tooth pick. Then dust with coating or just let the marshmallow set.

After 4-8 hours, remove the marshmallows by lifting from the parchment paper flaps.  Cut to desired size and enjoy!


  1. The link for the marshmallows doesn't seem to be working ;)

  2. Can't wait to try this!!! I think it would be delicious with your pumpkin loaf. I'm going to try that one out tomorrow :)

  3. where might one purchase grass-fed beef gelatin??

  4. Kimberly, I buy mine at a small health food store near my house, so check with a local health food store. It will most likely be in the supplement section for joint care and not in the grocery section. You can also just order it on line. Great Lakes is a great brand. It does not say grass fed on the label but it does on their web site.

  5. I wanted to let you know I recently found and adore your blog, from your coconut marshmallow recipe. Of course, I JUST saw this post on Pintrest after I made our own version of the same marshmallows. I linked to you in the post, so thanks for the awesome video - without it I'm not sure we would've been brave enough to give it a try.


  6. p.s. If you ever want to guest blog we'd love to have you!

  7. It looks great, but what turns the marshmallows red?

  8. Just in case you missed the link to India Trees Natural Food Coloring I've pasted the link below. They have some great products though they are not necessarily GAPS or Paleo friends. They are however a great natural alternative for those who can use them.

  9. Thank you! I looked at your blog...awesome. I totally agree with you, all this honey stuff IS borderline territory, but I figure even the cavemen celebrated with honey once in awhile! Of course, I doubt they boiled it and whipped it to a frenzy. People must think we eat honey everyday based on my blog post!

  10. Doh! Thank you, yes, I just saw the link. Silly me, I had merely scanned the ingredients... Great blog by the way...LOVE the pictures!!

  11. Liz...Haha, I'm a scanner too. My husband is always saying to me 'how can you not know that, it's right there?' I'm a 'skip to the end' kinda girl.

  12. Whats your trick to getting the pretty red swirls with the food coloring? mine look awful....

  13. Alison,

    I just do little drops and use a toothpick to make swirls. Sometimes it turns out and sometimes it looks pretty messy, depends on how my day is going!

  14. Hi - these look so yummy, I can't wait to try them! I don't have a stand up mixer - can I use my Vitamix? If yes, should I cut the time down at all with the Vitamix or should I go the full 10 min? Or, what signs do I look for that the mixture is done (don't bake much). Thanks! Kelly

  15. Kelly,

    I would not recommend the Vitamixer for making marshmallows. It will not be able to beat in the air needed to fluff the mixture. An electric hand mixer works great though!

  16. I have one of those - thank you so much :) Merry Christmas & I love your site!!!

  17. any thoughts on storage and how long that is effective for??

  18. also...did i do something wrong? they taste delicious when cold, but smores don't work at all. instantly liquifies.

  19. Can you replace the beef gelatin with anything? I'm allergic to beef :(

  20. how do you get your marshmellows to be red ?

    1. There should be a link to the India Tree natural food coloring it's spendy but lasts forever.

    2. I've heard you need to refrigerate the food coloring for it to last longer. I bought some over a year ago and it isn't good anymore. Very sad because it was pricey!

  21. Hello! The marshmallow sounds awesome!
    but is there any way to sub honey with something else? Like erythritol with stevia? Or agave nectar?? Thank you.

  22. Agave or Maple syrup. But no not the others, they would not work.