Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Marshmallows

Happy holidays!

In our home, the holidays begin when Christmas containers are pulled out of the garage. This year it was the day after Thanksgiving, and last year it was the week after Halloween...
Heavily frosted pavement and lawns look like 'they've been squished with softy marshmallows' according to an observant four year old. We have learned when the sound of fog horns resonate thru Commencement Bay, it is a foggy and more than likely chilly morning. Chilly mornings and evenings lend themselves to hot cocoa, and of course, the precious accompaniment of marshmallows. Inspired by a bright child, it was time to make the 'mallows.
Very worthwhile, indeed! Once you make them, you may never revert to the 'store packages of marshmallows' ever again. While they may be convenient and easy to buy, give homemade marshmallows a will be amazed!

If Heaven could be consumed piece by piece, this is your palate's path to enlightenment!

FYI: These guys behave just like the 'store boughts'. They melt beautifully and the heavy vanilla scent really adds dimension to cereal treats. I LOVE fire and when exposed to a flame, they toast slowly due to the powdered sugar coating, then quickly heat thru to a hot marshmallow cream...mmmm!
Credit: I followed a few marshmallow recipes and settled on the most cohesive, comprehendible, and most delicious of them all. It was posted via It truly was the most fantastic!

per Deb at, December 1998

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 peppermint 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.

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 panic if you can not get it all out*.
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.
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 storing.

Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week*.

* Refrigerated 'mallows keep for a few weeks.
* Raw egg whites were an issue for me, so I used pasturized egg whites from the carton. They can be found in the dairy case.
* Spraying your spatula, mixing bowl, and other utensils with cooking oil spray, aids in preventing a seriously catastrophic sticky mess. (It was during one of these tries that I learned I have hand claustrophobia.) If all of the 'mallow mixture does not make it into your pan, it's ok.
* Warm water is your friend
* I used a 13"x 17"x 1" jelly roll pan, and cut marshmallows with a greased square fluted pasta cutter. It yielded petite 'mallows.
* Others have used deeper pans, resulting in taller more substantial marshmallows.
* They can be cut with a greased knife, pasta cutter, pizza cutter, pastry wheels, etc...
* Get extra creative and pipe them into different shapes--marshmallow people, hearts, letters, etc...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chai Latte

I must admit I was quite apprehensive to let go of Autumn. When the fiery hues gave way to bare branches, I knew it was timeto let go. In my corner of the Northwest, we don't receive anywhere near the amount of snow other areas get. Last year, it was wonderous! I hope it is the same again, I love winter! I feel it's my element...most of the time, that is. I miss utilizing my 'polar cat driving skills', throwing snowballs, and building snow families. My list can go on and on...I must not forget the serious layering, wearing cumbersome snow gear, salting walkways...I even miss the nuances of winter!

In celebration of the suddenly chilly plunge in temperatures, Chai Latte is the drink that warms the Heart and Soul! Softly spicy, smooth, and subtley sexy...

As much as I enjoy the winter, my Heart goes out to those who minimally have, or do not have the means to stay out of the harsh and cold wintery weather

Chai Latte
minimally adapted from Taste of Home

2 individual tea bags
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 evaporated milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons refrigerated French vanilla nondairy creamer
Whipped topping and ground nutmeg, optional
Place the tea bags, cinnamon, ginger and allspice in the coffee filter of a drip coffeemaker.
Add water; brew according to manufacturer's directions.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, brown sugar and creamer. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Pour milk mixture into mugs; stir in tea.
Add whipped topping and sprinkle with nutmeg if desired.
Yield: 2 servings.

* Brown sugar is fairly 'heavy' and tends to sink.
* Stir or whisk constantly to dissolve sugar, otherwise you will consume crunchy tea
* Recipe can easily be tripled or made in mass quanties
* I may reduce the ginger by a smidgen next time, as my 4 year old mentioned it was a 'little too spicy'