Friday, December 19, 2008

The marshmallow incident

So, I had this brilliant little idea to make homemade treats for all of the neighbors and Hazel's cheerleading coaches. The theme? Peppermint. Chocolate peppermint cookies, chocolate peppermint truffles, peppermint marshmallows, and peppermint taffy (the only thing that was store-bought). I even bought the pretty little red and white bakery boxes from Martha Stewart. Red, white, pepperminty... a perfect set of Christmas treats!

The cookies went off without a hitch. I had some trouble even finding the taffy at stores this year. The truffles? A lot messier than I thought, but delicious. The marshmallows? Ah, the marshmallows. Now, those are a different story entirely. I had a recipe from last year's Martha Stewart Christmas magazine. It sounded easy enough. Ha ha ha. Not so easy after all. Well, to be fair, it wasn't that they were all that difficult to make... it was just that the recipe left out a couple of really HELPFUL hints. So, how about an edited version so you don't have the same issues that I did... sloppy candy goo overflowing all over you flat-top cooking range. You don't even want to know how long that took to clean up! And, let's not forget that the Martha recipe left out the fact that to achieve a look of anything other than a slick, shiny, jiggly mass after the marshmallows have set... you need to lightly dust them with powdered sugar. Fortunately, they still turned out and were DELICIOUS! And, after a dusting of powdered sugar, they looked pretty too!

*** Okay, all my mixed-feelings about this recipe aside, Martha rocks because, as I was typing this, I just received her daily Christmas Workshop newsletter in my inbox. And, guess what? She featured my little house ornaments that I made for the LT swap in today's newsletter! Squee!!!!! Yup. Martha rocks!*** Here's what the e-mail looks like:

So anyway... back to the marshmallows. What you'll need (in addition to an 8" square pan, candy thermometer, parchment paper, and a couple other common kitchen tools):

* Vegetable-oil cooking spray
* 2 C sugar
* 1 Tbs light corn syrup
* 4 pkgs. (1/4 oz. each) unflavored gelatin
* 1/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
* 2 lg. eggs
* Red food coloring
*Powdered sugar for dusting

Coat an 8" square baking w/ cooking spray. Line bottom of pan w/ parchment paper, then also coat parchment paper w/ cooking spray; set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 C water into a med. saucepan. Cook over med. heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. (Don't get discouraged, it DOES take a while). Continue to cook, without stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. (Again, this takes quite a while longer than I thought, so don't give up.) Raise heat to med-high; cook until mixture comes to a boil. Raise heat to med-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer. (Another step that was quite the wait).

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 C water in a heat-proof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set over a pan of simmering water; whisk until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat & stir in peppermint extract; set aside.

Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted w/ the whisk attachment; beat on high speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. I think this took about 5 or so minutes.

***Here's the part where it all went wrong*** DO NOT (I don't care what the recipe says) mix the gelatin into the sugar mixture while still on the stove. It will IMMEDIATELY boil completely over the pot. Trust me, you don't want to clean up that gooey, cooked-on mess. INSTEAD, add the gelatin directly to the electric mixer, followed by the sugar mixture. Beat on high speed until very thick. This took about 12-15 minutes.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Working quickly (and I ain't lying when I say QUICKLY), drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallows (I used 9 drops). Use a toothpick to quickly swirl food coloring into marshmallows to create a marbleized effect. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature at least 3 hours or overnight (I let it sit overnight).

Once you're ready to cut it up, dust the top of marshmallows lightly with powdered sugar. Turn pan out onto waxed paper; dust opposite side with powdered sugar. Cut into 2" squares. Place a small amount of powdered sugar in a shallow bowl, and dip all 4 edges of marshmallow in the sugar. Voila! Yummy, yummy peppermint marshmallows (without the totally disasterous mess I encountered... hopefully.)


Kristi said...

Dude you're in a Martha newsletter?! That's flippin' bombtastic!

Marshmallows look awesome and cuddly fo sho.

danilouwho said...

oh my word. thank you for posting this. I have always always always wanted to try marshmallows.... must do it now.

Anonymous said...

hahahaha! I made the same ones a few years ago for a skating party and after they were all made I thought "what the heck did I do this for" I thought they were a bit too sweet, you can't roast them well, and the kids didn't appreciate the effort, LOL

Mel G said...

Man, I hope you win that Martha contest!!! :) As for marshmallows, I'm afraid to make anything that involves the use of a candy thermometer, but I'll gladly eat any that come my way!hehe

Michelle said...

You're so cool that Martha loves you too! You know your famous when you're in Martha's newsletter. :) Congrats. Those look yummy. Sorry you had a marshmallow incident.

Lizee said...

WOW...out of 800 photo entries. YOU made it to the newsletter.
Your bomb-dizzle!

Melonie said...

OMG Holly! You rock!! The Martha newsletter? I'm doin' a little happy dance for you!!

George Erdosh said...

Talking about kitchen tools...

It is hard to emphasize the usefulness of GOOD kitchen tools for cooking. Without them, cooking is a chore and a cook quickly lose interest in the kitchen. In fact, I devoted a full chapter to this subject: Kitchen Tools to Keep, Kitchen Tools to Trash in my new book (Nov/08):

Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen—Secrets of Making Great Foods

Check it out!

Jocelyn said...

Holly, I so know what you are talking about because I did the very same thing and the cooktop stove took the hit and I felt sick! It took me forever to get it off and I wanted to scream, but the end result is PERFECT!!!! Hey congrats on the making the Martha newsletter, you rock girlie!!!! I hope everyone enjoys the marshmallows. I know everyone I gave them too said they were to die for!! Have a wonderful weekend!

metrochic said...

dude, you're all martha famous and stuff. wheeeee! and thanks for the tips on the marshmallows. you freaked me out the other day and i crossed them off the list but maybe i'll give this a go after all. :) happy christmas!

lizzyl said...

The marshmallows look amazing, although I'm not sure I would have made it to the end after marshmallow goo went all over my stove...also congrats on the newsletter, I LOVE your little houses! They are too too adorable!

~Sasha Farina~ said...

you're in Martha!! how awesome Holly!!! and yummyyy treats there..

scrappermimi said...

Congrats on your awesome Martha Newsletter toot! Fantastic! Those marshmallow goodies are just adorable...sorry about the mess, but at least they are still yummy. Looks cute too!

Hope you and your family have a great holiday!

Sandi in FL said...

They sure DO look pretty, and YUMMY too! =) Merry Christmas Holly!!!!!!!! I left you a little present on my blog:

KhrisW said...

OMG, now Martha!!!! I'm sooo happy and proud of you, Holly! I've been a fan of Martha Stewart's since I was in high school. You'll be on her show next, keep it up, Holly!


Those houses were sooo impressive, I'm not a bit surprised she featured them.

Zoe said...

holy shit! you're on martha???? you truly are my idol!!!

Zoe said...

holy shit! you're on martha???? you truly are my idol!!!