Monday, December 21, 2009

Home Made Marshmallows! Nothing jet-puffed about them!

Christmas is coming and there's no stopping it. Not that I manifest an inner Grinch -- I just need more time. As a last-second shopper, there's all that to do. And then there's the baking. I have a couple of cookie platters, a cheesecake, and a sugar-free lemon bundt cake to produce in the next few days. My Christmas cards are still unadressed and unstamped. Then for our Christmas dinners, I'm making Seafood Newburg for two houses! It'll be a mad dash, but I must like it this way, because this is my M.O. every year!

In the midst of all this dashing, I'll have to remember to take time out for a nice hot cup of Ovaltine (malted) topped with a melting marshmallow. For me, marshmallows will never be the same, not since I had one of Matt Kopans's home-made perfections. I dropped off a birthday cake to his house Saturday night, and before I got out the door he said, "Here, try one of these." Matt loves to bake and I keep up with his culinary adventures on his facebook page. Katie was with me, so I took two chocolate-dipped marshmallows out to the car. As we drove away, we immediately ate our marshmallows and, in unison said "OH MY GOD!" These were no jet-puffed, plastic-bagged pillows. These were big blocks of fluffy goodness, with a melt-in-your-mouth sweetness that we knew was a new standard. No longer will any packaged marshmallow do. Should you be interested in delving into the world of marshmallow-making, I'm providing a recipe from the queen of perfect recipes, Martha Stewart. It seems not so difficult, so think about making these, as unique gifts or for that next cold day when you're snowed in, and nothing but a cup of hot chocolate with a melting marshmallow will do!

Marhta Stewart's Marshmallows


Makes 24.

* Vegetable oil, for brushing
* 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
* 3 cups granulated sugar
* 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


1. Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with oil. Line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil; set aside.
2. Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 3/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees.on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.
4. Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.
5. Sift 1 cup confectioners' sugar onto a work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto confectioners' sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar into a small bowl, and roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

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