Category Archives: ASM Cooks!

12/28/17

Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows.

Mom and I had always wanted to try our hand at making marshmallows, and so it became our after-the-holiday-madness project. It was so much fun and my, oh my, are they good! Beats the pants off those perfectly-circular, extremely-processed Jet Puffed variety that used to pass as marshmallows for me, but not anymore.

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. So, just take your time, enjoy time with the ones you love, and have such fun!

And, additionally, 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 and granular. 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.marshmallow3

Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin.marshmallow4

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… can you spot him?!?) 

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! Remember: 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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12/21/17

Gruyere & Pancetta Breakfast Tart | A Special Christmas Morning treat

I love a good Breakfast Tart, Quiche, or Baked Omelette. And, they are so special for a holiday brunch buffet or an intimate family breakfast after Santa’s latest visit.

And this tart is full of so many delicious Italian flavors and textures, and even has red, white, and green right in the ingredients!

The nuttiness of the Gruyere pairs perfectly with the sharpness of the green onion, and the gentle smoky flavor of the cured Pancetta rounds the dish out! You are going to love this one.

Gruyere Cheese & Pancetta Breakfast Tart Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen deep-dish pie crust (I really like the quality of Pillsbury pie crusts, already in the tin ready to bake!)
  • 1 tblsp vegetable oil, or other flavorless oil
  • 4 oz of Pancetta, cut into small 1/4-1/2 inch diced cubes
  • 5 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3 scallions, both the white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry. This will prevent the crust from rising too much in the oven when baking and will keep the tart nice and flat when finished baking.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, until browned and crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the room-temperature eggs. Whisk in the mascarpone, Gruyere, scallions, salt, pepper and the slightly-cooled pancetta.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and bake for about 18 minutes, until the mixture has set and the top is golden.

Cool the tart for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from the pan. Cut the tart into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Image result for gruyere and pancetta tart

Absolutely perfect with some fruit salad and grits for breakfast or brunch, or even served with a nice tossed green salad dressed in a simple vinaigrette for a French bistro inspired lunch or dinner.

I don’t know anyone who would turn this one down and Mom and I have been making it during the Christmas season for several years now! It truly has become a classic we readily share with our friends & family!

Hoping your Christmas is delicious, merry, and bright!

xoxo…

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