A little bit of Fluff


After my rather serious first post, I thought I’d change it up with a post about something sweet and light and fluffy. And what fits the bill better than marshmallows?

You see, I was leafing through a copy of Ina Garten’s (The Barefoot Contessa) Family Style Cookbook with my son who simply adores cookbooks (clever boy) when I happened upon a recipe for homemade marshmallows.  The Contessa’s description convinced me that somewhere deep inside I was not complete until I had experienced the joy of homemade marshmallows – well not quite, but I was very keen to give them a go! I made the marshmallows as described below, except I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I think I MAY have boiled the sugar syrup a bit too long which MIGHT be the reason they turned out rather chewy. 

All in all, they were very easy to make, but I was expecting something more.  There was no wow factor for me.  I also found them fairly hard to cut with a knife (again the chewiness), but a pizza cutter works well come to find out!

After I cut all my little marshmallow squares, I felt a bit deflated. My kids wouldn’t eat them. I wasn’t even much of a fan, honestly.  Then it hit me…try them in my homemade hot chocolate! I found the wow factor and WOW, was it good! The homemade marshmallows melt so much better than the old stale store bought variety and it did not matter one jot that they were chewy in solid form, as they were deliciously creamy and sweet in liquid form. 

I have to admit, I’m becoming a bit of a hot chocolate and marshmallow addict…I look for reasons to boil up the kettle and enjoy the rich creamy steamy hot chocolate topped with sweet sticky marshmallow goo….it is heavenly! 

I would also like to encourage you to spread the joy.  Make some hot chocolate mix and a batch of homemade marshmallows (I suggest you use a candy thermometer for best results) for someone special this Christmas.  It’s inexpensive, thoughtful and delicious.

 

A word of warning:    Do not try to liquify the marshmallows in the microwave and pour over cold ice cream as a special treat for your husband/wife/girlfriend/etc.  The marshmallows might re-solidify into a vast chewy blob and the loved one you were trying to impress will might drop it down his shirt in an attempt to wrestle it into his mouth. Not that this has actually happened to anybody I know, I just thought I’d put it out there.

Homemade Marshmallows -Ina Garten
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
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. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

With a sieve, generously dust an 8×12” 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 into squares. Dust the sides with more confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix – Meg (hey, that’s me!)

1 1/2 cups skim milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup non-dairy creamer
 
Mix well – a food processor works well, but you can just use a whisk if that works for you.
 
Store in an airtight container.
 
To use:  Add 2-3 tablespoons of mix to your favorite mug, fill with boiling water (or hot coffee for a lovely Hot Mocha).
 
Enjoy! 🙂
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