Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Friday, September 30, 2016

Homemade Marshmallows

I'm back (finally)! So, my third year of medical school has ended up a lot busier than I planned, and I haven't gotten much baking done. But I think I've got my time management down and I'm going to try to work baking and blogging back into my regular schedule. Plus, over winter break, I did some holiday baking, so I have some of that to share as well.


Today I have my go-to recipe for homemade marshmallows. I'm quite surprised that I've never shared it here before. For the most part, I try to share recipes that use minimal equipment, but this recipe requires a stand mixer due to safety (sorry), so maybe that's the reason. Anyway, if you've never made homemade marshmallows, I definitely recommend it. They turn out soft and fluffy and they just taste better than store-bought marshmallows. I have another recipe for flavored marshmallows that I'll share in a few weeks, but this recipe makes wonderful vanilla marshmallows, the perfect addition for s'mores and hot cocoa.


Usually, when I make these for everyday eating, I'll just cut them up into squares, but for my holiday baking this year, I wanted something more festive. So I decided to make them look like snowmen. I halved the recipe so they'd be thinner and easier to cut into circles. Then I gave them faces with royal icing leftover from decorating gingerbread cookies. I also added a touch of cinnamon to the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture used to powder the outside of the marshmallows to make them extra festive. No matter squares or snowmen, they're still equally delicious.


Vanilla Marshmallows
adapted from about.com

1 1/2 envelopes (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cornstarch 
powdered sugar
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the 1/4 cup of cold water. Sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the water and let the gelatin soak. Cover a 8x8" square baking pan with plastic wrap and spray the plastic wrap with nonstick spray; set aside for now.

Mix the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Place over the stove and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Pour the boiled sugar syrup into the stand mixer bowl over the gelatin. Add salt. Mix on high for 12 minutes. Add vanilla and mix a few more seconds. Use an oiled spatula and scrape the marshmallow mixture into your prepared square baking pan. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and place over the marshmallow mixture, greased side down. Press on the plastic wrap to smooth out the marshmallow.

Let set for a few hours. Once ready to cut, in a wide bowl, mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1/2 cup cornstarch and add the pinch of cinnamon if desired. Peel the plastic wrap off the baking pan. Move the marshmallow over to a cutting board and cut into squares with a knife sprayed with nonstick spray. (If you want to make snowman marshmallows, use a round cookie cutter sprayed with nonstick spray to cut out circles.) Roll the marshmallows in the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture as you cut them out. Once all are cut, keep in an airtight container until ready to serve.

NOTE: Above measurements are halved from original recipe. Feel free to double recipe for thicker marshmallows.

Snowman Marshmallows
circular marshmallows
royal icing recipe (don't need to make whole recipe, can make 1/8 recipe)
black food coloring
orange food coloring
toothpicks

Color half the royal icing black and half of it orange. Keep the orange icing covered when using the black icing first. Use a toothpick to dot black icing for eyes and mouths. It might not stick very well since the marshmallows are covered with powder, so press the icing into the marshmallows, sort of like inking a tattoo. Blob on orange icing for the noses, pulling the toothpick upwards so the icing is slightly pointy.

Read More

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chewie Gingerbreadwookiees

Happy Holidays! I can't believe almost another year has passed. As usual, this holiday season, I made my favorite thick and chewy gingerbread cookie recipe. Each year, I try to do a different design, having made Gingy-bread Men (from Shrek) and Gingerbread Gentlemen cookies in the past, I wanted to continue this tradition this year.


I had just seen Star Wars: Episode VIII last week. And having made Chewie Wookiee Cookies (Chewbacca CCCs), Han Solo cups, and Yoda Match Truffles, I thought, why not more Star Wars? I thought about possibly making Ewoks, Jawas, or Banthas, but in the end decided to stick with Wookiees :). Perhaps next time for the other creatures!


I don't have wookiee shaped cookie cutters, so I drew my own stencil on paper and used that to guide my knife when cutting out shapes. Since I wanted to make these cookies holiday themed, I decked out Chewie's bandolier with holiday sprinkles instead of cartridges. But if you want to make this for any day of the year or you don't have holiday sprinkles, you can always draw in the cartridges with white chocolate like I did for one of the cookies in the photos. Enjoy, and may the force be with you :P!


Chewie Gingerbreadwookiees
thick and chewy gingerbread cookie recipe
semisweet chocolate
white chocolate
holiday sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Make gingerbread cookie dough recipe and roll it out to between 1/8-1/4 inches thick. Print out and cut out stencil (should be 5" tall). Spray stencil with nonstick spray (so it doesn't stick to the dough), and use it as a guide for cutting out cookies. Place cutouts on baking sheet. Use a fork to press lines into the dough for "fur". Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes. Let the cookies cool before decorating.


Melt semisweet chocolate. Use it to draw a sash across each cookie for the bandolier. Press in holiday sprinkles before chocolate solidifies. Use a toothpick to draw chocolate eyes and a nose. Melt white chocolate to draw in the teeth.

(If making non holiday Chewie, draw the semisweet chocolate sash, eyes, and nose. Wait for semisweet chocolate to solidify. Melt white chocolate and use it to draw in the cartridges on the bandolier as well as the teeth).

Read More