Monthly Archives: January 2016

01/28/16

Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade marshmallows.

Mom and I had always wanted to try our hand at making marshmallows, and so it became our after-snow-day project this past weekend. It was so much fun and my, oh my, are they good! Beats the pants off those perfectly-circular, processed Jet Puffed variety that used to pass as marshmallows for me, but no more.

So, let me walk you through how to make this delicious confection everyone can enjoy! Nothing is overly complicated, but there are several steps involved and it is a bit of a process.

And, I will also share with you the things I learned from this first effort and what I would do differently next time. Because, there will be a next time.

Homemade Marshmallows

recipe from Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook, 2002

(Yield: 20-40 marshmallows, depending on size of squares you cut)

Ingredients:

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

marshmallow1

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup. It will become very thick.

marshmallow2

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

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Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin.

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Be very careful as you do this step. That syrup is very hot!

After all the syrup has been added, put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick. This process will take approximately about 15 minutes.

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And it will grow…

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And grow.

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Add the vanilla and mix again once more thoroughly to fully incorporate.

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Look at that! I love how glossy and thick they become. (and I love that little precious pottery bulldog peeking around the mixer) 

With a sieve, generously dust an 9 x 13 inch non-metal baking dish with confectioners’ sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top with damp fingertips, and dust with more confectioners’ sugar.

They don’t have to be perfect, just get it into a single layer.

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Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.  At least 8 hours or so.

When ready to cut, use a flexible, serrated knife, to loosen the edges around the pan, and cut them into squares.

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It helps if the knife has been run under hot water and dried in between cuts to keep the edges clean and the squares more uniform in size.

Just take your time! It’s a process.

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Dust them with more confectioners’ sugar on all sides and keep in an air-tight container with layers of parchment paper in between the layers so they don’t stick together.

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Will keep up to 2 weeks time.

**A few Notes:

  • I later learned that the trick to getting the marshmallows out of the pan is to line the pan with parchment paper, so that the sides overlap and you have wings, or tabs to pull up on. Then, sprinkle the bottom of the pan completely with powdered sugar, as we have done, and lightly grease the side of the pan with a non-stick cooking spray. They should lift out easily, and then you can turn out onto a powdered sugar covered board and cut into desired shapes.
  • Tips on cutting: The real secret to clean lines when cutting is the more powdered sugar, the better! Don’t shy away or skimp on the sprinkling. It is the same concept as flouring your cookie cutters when making cut-out cookies. Sugar your knife in between making cuts, and occasionally, rinse clean in warm water so that the knife glides along the marshmallows and prevents it from tearing.
  • Wanting to cut out into shapes? Lightly grease and then coat your cutters in powdered sugar and then press firmly and lift the shapes out. Continue to dust the cutters in between each cut to prevent sticking. Use shapes like hearts, stars, squares and circles for best results as the shapes are more simple and not quite as intricate.
  • A great variation on this original recipe would be Toasted Coconut Marshmallows. You can see full recipe here. Those would make beautiful homemade gifts wrapped up in a clear, glassine bag with a nice bow.

My favorite way to enjoy them?

marshmallow in mug

Floating in a mug of hot chocolate with a good book in hand curled up in my favorite arm chair on a slow Sunday evening. Truly, the best things in life are so simple and often free. Such a simple pleasure.

xoxo….

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01/25/16

Wonder what would happen?

I first read this devotion earlier last week at the gentle and encouraging insistence of a close friend and confidante.

Then I understood why she so desired for me to read it. It was my heart needed to hear most in that moment. That lonely moment that my heart often finds itself in.

Lysa TerKeurst

“Why Would God let this happen?

{A Devotion by Lysa Terkeurst on Proverbs31.org on January 14th, 2016} 

“I wonder what would happen in our lives if we really lived in the absolute assurance of God’s love. I mean, as Christians we know He loves us. We sing the songs, we quote the verses, we wear the T-shirts and we sport the bumper stickers. Yes, God loves us.

I’m not talking about knowing He loves us.

I’m talking about living as if we really believe it.

I’m talking about walking confidently in the certainty of God’s love even when our feelings beg us not to.

I’m talking about training our hearts and our minds to process everything through the filter of the absolute assurance of God’s love. Period. Without the possible question mark.

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a precious mom whose eldest daughter is nearing 30 and has never had a boyfriend. The younger siblings have all gone through the whole dating thing and one is now engaged to be married. The eldest daughter sat on the side of her mom’s bed recently with tears slipping down her cheeks and said, “Why mom? Why can’t I find anyone to love me? What’s wrong with me?”

This mom was asking me for advice in helping her daughter process these questions. These feelings are real. These feelings are tough.

And I’m sure if I were able to untangle all the emotions wrapped in and around these questions, somewhere deep inside I would find this girl doubting God’s love for her.

I remember being single, the only one of my friends without a boyfriend, and wondering why. I would see these nice boys and think God could make one of them fall in love with me but He hasn’t. And that hurt.

But here’s the thing I wish I had known then … I must process this through the filter of God’s love not through the tangled places of my heart.

When I process things through the tangled places of my heart, often the outcome is, “If God loves me so much, why would He let this happen?”

Instead when I process things through the filter of the absolute assurance of God’s love, the outcome is, “God loves me so much therefore I have to trust why He is allowing this to happen.”

I took the mom’s hand who was asking for advice and told her to help her daughter rewrite the way she is processing this. It’s okay to feel hurt, lonely and sad. But these feelings shouldn’t be a trigger to doubt God’s love for her. They should be a trigger to look for God’s protection, provision and possible growth opportunities.

I know this can be hard. But what if we really lived in the absolute assurance of God’s love? Oh sweet sister, in whatever you are facing today I pray Isaiah 54:10 over you, Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed yet God’s unfailing love for you will not be shaken.” 

Truth for each of us today, in whatever we face, whatever we need to hand over and trust in His absolute assurance & abounding love…

Isaiah 55:8-9, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (NIV)

Psalm 138:8a: “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.” (ESV)

{- See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/why-would-god-let-this-happen/#sthash.KSKlPJxi.dpu}

Oh Father, how I long to unwholly and completely trust in your unfailing and abounding love & timing. But you know Lord, that my heart grows weak, that spirit faints, and that my human nature becomes impatient. And then doubt sets in.

I hate it when that happens. 

And you always know when it does, and I thank you and praise you for continuously lifting me, as the moments and times where I need it continue to increase. They are coming more frequently. Like little waves pressing my spirit down, suppressing the joy that you give. 

You know my heart’s desire. You know what I long for and pray for. You know my thoughts before they are even formed in my mind and my mumblings before they exit my lips. And yet still, you love me. And I am amazed. 

Cast out doubt and allow me to wholly and completely trust. Help me to rest. Cease worrying or striving. Help me to live in light of you holy assurance. Help me to know that you are enough for me. That your perfect love drives out all fear, all imperfection, and all those things in my life I don’t need. Help me to live in light of your promises. For you are faithful, even until the end. 

Amen. 

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