Friday, December 16, 2011

It's a Marshmallow World...

So the last two days have been a blur of fluff...literally. I have been busy making marshmallows for work gifts and for my sister. I have mentioned before...there is something very satisfying about making marshmallows. I am not sure if its: the fact that if you place hot sugary goo in a mixer with bloomed gelatin that it whips up into something extraordinary or if its the fact that it taste so sugary good after you are done or that you can tell everyone..."I HAVE MADE YOU MARSHMALLOWS!" in your deepest Charlton Heston voice.

Well, here are the results that I am taking to my sister tonight:

Homemade Marshmallows
I bought these jars in a set of six from Overstock (I use them as sugar and flour they are pretty big)...I used chalkboard contact paper to make the labels with scissors that I got from my sister and a liquid chalk pen in white. The label can be reused once the marshmallows are gone, just take a little water to it, wipe it off and write whatever new and wonderful thing is being housed in the jar. I LOVE CHALKBOARD CONTACT PAPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The recipe for the marshmallows is from Alton Brown...I chose to first use his recipe, because if anybody would know how to make a marshmallow it would the science guy of FoodNetwork.  I was right;  these marshmallows are fool proof and easier than pie if you have a candy thermometer, an electric stand mixer w/ whisk attachment and the patience of Jobe to let the pan sit for 4 hours to set (I think that may be the hardest part..."IS IT MARSHMALLOW YET?!?!?!?!?!?!").

Homemade Marshmallows 

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007 
Prep Time: 35 min Cook Time: 10 min 
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hr 0 min Level: Intermediate
Serves: approx 9 dz marshmallows or 1 ½ lbs miniature

3 packages unflavored gelatin 

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c ice cold water, divided 

¼ c confectioners' sugar
12 oz granulated sugar, approx 1 ½ c 
¼ c cornstarch
1 c light corn syrup Nonstick spray
¼ tsp kosher salt

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

For miniature marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners' sugar mixture.

Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ½ -inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.

Cut into ½ inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

***I have not tried it yet, but I think it would be smashingly good to use peppermint schnapps in place of the vanilla to have a peppermint marshmallow.  Use 1 tsp peppermint schnapps in place of the vanilla to achieve this.

I also made a grouping of these for the folks at each a dozen ever so lovely puffy clouds of goodness.  I packaged them in cute little cookie box kits I got from Michaels a la Martha Stewart (BTW...I think Martha Stewart is AWESOME!  These box kits are AWESOME!  and I didn't buy enough of them, NOT AWESOME!  :-(   ).   The kits came with the box the ribbon the separating papers and labels...everything you would need for food gifts.
Homemade Marshmallows for work

I guess Johnny Mathis was right, it is a "Marshmallow World" after all.

Enjoy the foods of your labor. :-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving Pictures...

Thanksgiving Dinner

I hope everyone had an outstanding Thanksgiving.  This year Sean and I spent Thanksgiving at home, so I decided to keep things simple and delicious by going with a roasted chicken dinner fit for any Sunday table.  Here are some pictures from our Thanksgiving...

Hello, little roasted look tasty

The sauce that is suppose to go over the chicken...I liked it over the potatoes too
Meet the sides...sauteed asparagus, mashed potatoes and again the tasty sauce w/ carrots and onions
Here's the chicken after was exhausted.
Every bit of this plate is home cooked right down to the little popover that didn't quite pop in the back. 

and last but not least my all time favorite dessert, which I had baked the night before...

Pumpkin Pie
This is the all time best pumpkin pie you will ever bake...its the Eagle Brand Milk Traditional pumpkin pie recipe.

Traditional Pumpkin Pie
from Eagle Brand Milk labels/cookbooks

For printable recipe, please click here 

1 (9in) unbaked pie crust
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice* (this was my mother's addition, it makes it MORE SPICY)
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425°F. In large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients, mix well. Pour the pumpkin mixture into prepped unbaked pie crust. Place in the oven (be careful not to slosh) and bake for 15 min. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake another 35 to 40 min. (use a toothpick or knife to test the pie; if it comes out clean, its done). Cool before cutting. Garnish the pie or each slice with whipped cream or your desired topping. Refrigerate leftovers.

I have made this pie so much that I think I could make it in my sleep.  This is truly my favorite dessert EVER!  Also, this is the pest pumpkin pie you will ever taste.  Trust me.

Enjoy the foods of your labor!  :-)