Now onto a regular blog post...
With the cold weather finally settling in all over the country our thoughts are turning to hot chocolate. Now what goes perfect with some hot chocolate? Marshmallows!!!
I first tried making these a couple of years ago and the kids never forgot them and had been asking and asking for them ever since.
This year we had already decided that there was going to be a huge paring back. We already have SO MUCH STUFF. None of us NEEDED anything this year. Pretty lucky huh? Sure there are a lot of wants but I think we've been coming to terms that there is a huge difference between WANTS and NEEDS. One of the things I decided to do was to make everyone some gifts. Tony got the homemade hot sauce and the girls got the homemade marshmallows. Worked out perfectly and they opened them for their one gift they get to open on Christmas Eve. Perfect for the traditional cup of hot chocolate.
Homemade Marshmallows (Smitten Kitchen-Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows)
Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)
- Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.
- In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.
- In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
- With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. (Some reviewers felt this took even longer with a hand mixer, but still eventually whipped up nicely.)
- In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.
- Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.
***I followed this recipe to a tee. Both times I have made them and they've turned out perfectly both times. Love this one. Next time I may try and add some peppermint extract to half of the batch to shake it up a bit!