I have always loved Valentine’s Day, since I was a child. More than a holiday it felt like a magical happening to me. Out of nowhere seem to burst red, pink and white at every store. Treats wrapped in shiny foil appear only for a few weeks, tempting all with a sweet tooth to celebrate the love-saturated February 14th. Secret messages on conversation heart candy were the currency of young crushes on paper cut heart Valentines. I guess that was as close to the contemporary truncated text language of today; LOL.
When my kids were younger they always made Valentines for classmates. We’d set aside a weekend day with loads of craft supplies and a class list to work their muse through all the kids they know, with doily hearts, sparkly glue, stickers galore and sometimes an added treat of a Valentine’s themed pencil or lollipop for the perfect accent.
Time grows shorter for extra projects the older we all get however my son and I were at a craft store last week picking up supplies for the infamous Rainbow Loom (those with elementary schoolers will completely understand the current obsession). I wanted to look through the Valentine’s supplies as I never know what will awaken my creative juices.
In the midst of the crafting kits and Cupid cookie cutters was a display full of Valentine’s candy. Familiars like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are temporarily transformed into heart shapes. Junior mints tout the same with colored fillings. Dots are pink, white and red for the celebration. It caught both of our attention along with lesser known confections dazzling with glittery packaging. My son perked up, reaching for an enormous chocolate heart which had marshmallow cream inside. I like an occasional S’more as much as the next girl but the idea of eating what looked like a half pound heart of marshmallow was too much for me. However it got me thinking…..I knew we could do better.
The other thing that I ponder at this time of year is school party treats or little special nods of fun for those in my daily life, in my children’s or my husband’s co-workers. Things that are easy to prepare in larger quantities and are unexpected. After some experimenting I was delighted with the outcome of these Valentine’s Chocolate Marshmallow Pops. One marshmallow, rather than a ½ pound, swirled in chocolate and adorned with happy sprinkles on a cheery stick. Once I settled on my method and ingredients, the dipping and decorating were quick with about 30 minutes of chilling to set everything.
The recipe can be reduced for your needs; I tried to use an entire bag of chocolate chips and marshmallows (fortunately I have access to a passel of always willing and hungry teen taste tester in my daughter’s friends so I wasn’t left with 50 pops to consume in our family). I think you’ll agree they are happy-making and just the right amount of sugary fun!
Chocolate Marshmallow Pops
- 1 10- ounce bag Chocolate Chips (Semi-Sweet, Bittersweet, Milk or Dark)
- 1 tablespoon Shortening (I use Spectrum Organic Vegetable shortening)
- 1 16- ounce bag regular size Marshmallows
- Decorative sprinkles (opaque sprinkles create a better end result than xxx sugar)
- 50 6- inch lollipop or cake pop sticks (available at craft or baking supply stores)
- 50 3- inch by 4-inch Candy/Treat bags and Twist Ties or twine (if desiring to cover the pops); also available at craft or baking supply stores
- Prepare a large baking sheet or two by lining with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Insert the sticks into the marshmallows to the marshmallows are secure and the sticks do not protrude out the top of the marshmallow.
- Place chocolate in a double boiler, a metal bowl above a saucepan of boiling water or follow the package direction for microwave melting. Once chocolate has melted, add the shortening and stir to fully combine. Remove from heat and allow to cool 2-3 minutes.
- To dip the marshmallows: Grasp a lollipop stick and dip the marshmallow into the chocolate covering the top and sides of the marshmallow by rotating the the marshmallow clockwise in the chocolate. Hold dipped marshmallow at and angle, with the top facing the dipping chocolate to allow excess chocolate to drain back into the dipping chocolate, leaving only a thin covering of chocolate on the marshmallow Note: a thick coating will drain downward as the pop is left to chill causing misshapen pops. A dining knife or finger can be used to scrape excess chocolate from the dipped pop before decorating.
- Holding the freshly dipped pop over a small plate, shake the sprinkles onto the pop as desired. For larger sprinkles a lighter application is best to discourage the sprinkles and chocolate from sliding downward when chilling.
- Place decorated pops onto prepared baking sheets and chill for 30 minutes or until fully set.
- Once chilled, if desired, pops may be covered with plastic treat bags and secured with a twist tie or colorful twine. Decorated pops may be stored in the refrigerator in a covered sealed container for 2-3 days, however are best when freshly prepared.