Marshmallows… not just for Smores!

Why make your own marshmallows? First of all, it tastes so much better as this recipe does not use corn syrup. Aside from health implications, corn syrup can be overwhelmingly sweet. And most importantly, just look at them!

Equipment:

Stand mixer

or hand mixer

8×8 for thicker, for 9×13 pan for thinner, marshmallows, well-greased
parchment paper
rubber spatula
sifter
ruler
knife

Ingredients:
cooking spray
3 tablespoons (3 packets) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup cornstarch
½ cup cold water + ¼ cup cold water

(Flavorings and syrups of your choice)

Before you begin, prepare the bottom and sides of your pan with cooking spray.
Cut the parchment paper to fit the inside of your pan. Lightly coat your spatula with cooking spray and carefully set aside.

(*I’ve made mint flavored, cocoa flavored, pumpkin flavored marshmallows, marshmallows topped with blueberry syrup, candied pecans. The possibilities are endless!)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Pour ½ cup water over the gelatin into a large bowl. If you’re using a stand mixer, it can go direcrly into the attached bowl. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and ¼ cup water. Whisk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and let it simmer, without stirring, for about 10-15 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature should reach 247-250 F. If not, let it simmer for the full 15 minutes.

Then, add the hot syrup to the gelatin mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. At this time add vanilla.

Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, fluffy, and tripled in volume, about 10-15 minutes.

During the last 5 minutes, if you’d like, add in food color and/ or flavor of your choice.*

Using a rubber spatula, quickly scrape out the mixture into the prepared pan. Marshmallows set very quickly, so you will need to work fast! Do not worry about getting every last bit of marshmallow out of the bowl or making the top perfectly smooth.

Once the marshmallow is in the tray, allow the mixture to set, uncovered (not refrigerated) for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Is it modern art, or a tray of marshmallows?

As the marshmallows is resting, combine powdered sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Once the marshmallow set properly, spoon some of the dry mixture into a sifter, and sift over the top of the marshmallows.

When your ready to cut the marshmallows, cover a cutting board with the powered sugar mixture. Trust me, don’t skip this step. Now grab the parchment paper and lift the marshmallows from the pan and place onto your board.

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Use a kitchen safe ruler and cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares. Toss the marshmallows into the powdered sugar mixture to prevent sticking.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks… if they last that long.

Try it in your cocoa, on smores, or just by itself. If you do make these marshmallows, please share a photo here!

Enjoy!

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Making puff pastry

I truly love flaky, buttery pastry wrapped around something delicious.  However, I have an allergy to any kind of hydrogenated vegetable oil like shortening or margarine.  That eliminates most store-bought desserts. As it happens I’m not adverse to

For years I trusted Pepperidge Farms puff pastry sheets.  Their ingredients are pretty straight forward.  Then came a holiday season when I went to the store too late both of my local grocery stores were out.  What I did have on hand was plenty of butter and plenty of flour.
Lightbulb!

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups cake flour
1-1/4 cups  ice water
1 pound or 4 sticks of unsalted butter (I’m told European Butter works best.)

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of table salt or sugar.  I prefer to go without.

Making the dough is relatively easy if you have a food processor.  With an S blade attachment, blend the flours together and slowly pour in the ice water.  Add in either salt or sugar depending on your personal preference.  Let the processor blend until a ball forms.  Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before using.

  1. When you feel ready to make the pastry sheet, unwrap 4 sticks of butter and press together to form a block.  I prefer to work with room temperature butter wrapped in plastic wrap to keep its shape.
  2. Roll the dough into a square shape with the middle part a bit thicker than the edges.  Unwrap butter and place in the middle.  Fold the edges of the dough over the butter so no butter is showing. 
  3. Roll the butter pouch into a rectangular shape.  Fold over and roll again.  
  4. At this point, I’ll put the dough back in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up the butter a bit.  Then roll and fold over again twice more.
  5. Divide the dough, wrap it separately.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze to keep longer.

Now you have pastry dough and the possibilities are endless!