Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap up / Christmas Beginning

Well Hello!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We sure did. I was busy all day Thursday cooking up a storm and had a few friends over for the afternoon and had a bonfire in the evening. We had gorgeous 70 degree weather for Thanksgiving. What more could you ask for? ( well maybe snow...)

I got to admit. I really like Thanksgiving and stretching my culinary muscles but I really like to get it out of the way so I can start decorating and celebrating Christmas. It almost seems like there isn't enough Christmas time to celebrate. Every year I go home to Wisconsin and while I love the snow and being there I miss those days of being at my own home and being around our Christmas tree and our decorated home. Its just not the same to spend it somewhere else.

So last night we went and got a tree and started to decorate it. While Jack got it all set up in the stand and strung with lights I popped over to the kitchen and started to whip up a batch of homemade marshmallows. Ok, Lets just stop and talk about these insanely scrumptious treats. I've been reading about them on blogs about how they taste so much better, blah blah blah. I thought...sure..I guess they probably taste a bit better. Usually homemade stuff does. No, these are amazing! Especially in homemade hot chocolate. They just melt and get all soft and gooey. My life has forever been changed by these SIMPLE amazing marshmallows.

I followed Martha Stewarts simple recipe. The only thing that I would say is difficult is if you've never made any type of "candy" before. In step 2 she refers to a soft ball stage ( 238 degrees) on the candy thermometer. The way that I have learned to do this when making caramels. Is to take your spatula and get a small amount of the boiling liquid on the end and drop into a small dish of cold water the liquid. Then with your finger you should be able to pick it up and roll it into a softish ball of candy. If its at the right temperature it will do this. I tried this at 235 degrees and it stayed all liquidy and didn't firm up so I needed to wait 3 more degrees till it was ready to be removed from the pan.

A few more tips:
I highly recommend using a kitchen aide type of mixer ( not sure if a hand mixer would even work). After you've cooked your liquid you add it to the gelatin and it needs to whisk on a high speed for 12 minutes. You're arms would fall off if you used a hand mixer I'm guessing. Also, get a candy thermometer. They are inexpensive and will save you lots of time/guessing as to when your sugar mixture is done.

Spray the cookie sheet first with spray oil then cover with parchment paper, spray the paper with oil and then do a light dusting of cornstarch over the paper

When your marshmallows are firm. Flip the cookie sheet over on to a clean work surface ( i flipped it right side up in the cookie sheet) so the parchment paper side is up and remove the paper and do a light dusting of cornstarch over the new exposed side.

Lastly, when cutting the marshmallows ( either in shapes or cubes) I dusted my cookie cutter/knife with corn starch to help cut and when the shape/cube was cut I dusted the sides ( sticky) with more cornstarch. This helps them from sticking in the fridge if you're going to store them. I ended up cutting them into a mitten, bell and star shape and throwing them into a Tupperware container.

I hope you can muster up the courage to make these because they are super simple ( even if it appears that they are difficult) and delicious!



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